Saturday, October 31, 2009

Supernatural fiction for teens

The Halloween season is a great time to read tales of the supernatural. Here are some stories, old and new, worth curling up with on cold nights! Look for library copies using the World Catalog search box, or buy copies by typing in the title in the search box here on BookBag.

Thwonk, by Joan Bauer (Speak Press). Humorous Romance. When lovelorn 17-year-old A.J. McCreary, a talented photographer, is assigned to snap a cover shot for the school yearbook, she stumbles upon a stuffed cupid who comes to life and offers her his assistance. Despite the otherworldly archer's admission that he never quite gets love spells right, A.J. opts for help in the romantic realm instead of asking for success in art or academics, her other choices. Soon, hunky Peter Terris, A.J.'s longtime unrequited love, can't get enough of her, which is great...right? Readers of this hilarious riff on the adage "be careful what you wish for" are in for one fun and wacky ride through the world of high-school romance.

Need, by Carrie Jones (Bloomsbury). Paranormal Romance. After her stepfather dies unexpectedly, grieving, phobic Zara goes to live with her grandmother in chilly, small-town Bedford, Maine. As she begins to make friends and attract the attention of several local boys (including sexy Nick, who runs faster than any human should be able to), Zara notices something unsettling: she's being followed by a strange

man who leaves a golden, glittery trail everywhere he goes. To her horror, she learns that her stalker is a pixie king...and that if he doesn't mate with a queen soon, the young men in Bedford will all be in terrible danger. Fans of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely will definitely want to read this creepy, suspenseful, and action-packed romance.

Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause (Delacorte Press). Horror. It's the same old story; a young girl falls in love with a boy her mother warns her against -- except in this case it's because the boy is human. Self-assured, beautiful Vivian is a werewolf, and since her father died a year ago, the adolescent males in her pack (called the Five) have been in fierce competition to take his place as its leader. But Vivian blames the Five for her dad's death, and is sick of their careless endangerment of the tribe and their constant fighting. This makes her especially vulnerable to the attractions of sweet, sensitive Aiden, a "meat-boy." Can he love her if he finds out what she really is?

Raven, by Allison Van Diepen (Simon Pulse). Urban Fantasy. High-school senior Nicole has been in love with Zin since the first time she saw him dance. But even though Nicole feels a connection between them -- one that helps her deal with her

messed-up family life--Zin seems determined to keep her at a distance. After she begins performing in Zin's break-dancing group at New York City's club Evermore, however, Nicole learns the startling truth about him: he is one of the Jiang Shi, immortals who feed on the souls of dying humans. Are the feelings that she has for Zin really strong enough to last...forever? Twilight fans who can handle something a bit grittier will appreciate the tantalizing romance in Raven, and dance aficionados will love the detailed descriptions of the dance group's moves.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Spooky tales for tween readers

Looking for spooky stories to make your Halloween extra creepy? Here are some new books with tales to make you shiver! Look for these at your library by using the World Catalog search box here on BookBag, or buy copies using the BookBag Amazon search box.

Second Fiddle: Or, How to Tell a Blackbird from a Sausage, by Siobhan Parkinson (Roaring Book Press). Fiction. Twelve-year-old aspiring writer Mags Clarke has just moved to rural Ballybeg, Ireland, with her mother. While exploring the woods near her new home one day, Mags hears music, follows it, and finds a girl named Gillian playing the violin. Before long, Mags is obsessed with helping Gillian track down her missing father to ask for plane fare to London, where she wants to audition to attend a prestigious music school. Mags (who talks directly to readers) claims that this is not a story in which "an awful lot of dreadful things happen to the same one or two people," but the friends' quest isn't all smooth sailing. Quirky characters and humorous narration make this touching story a winner.

Fiendish Deeds, by P.J. Bracegirdle (Margaret K. McElderry Books). Horror. The town of Spooking is dark, dank, and decidedly eerie--and it suits 11-year-old Joy Wells just fine, thank you. Joy lives in Spooking but attends school in neighboring Darlington, a sticky-sweet suburb that makes her want to gag. She loves horror stories and is convinced that her favorite author, E. A. Peugeot, wrote his most shiveringly delicious tale about a bog that's located right in her hometown. When Joy learns that Darlington plans to build a water park over that very bog, she decides that it's up to her to save it--and the fiend that she believes lives there. This first volume in the Joy of Spooking series will please fans of mystery, horror, and dark humor.

Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales, by Ellen Datlow (Viking) Fantasy. Do you think you know who the bad guys are? Maybe you just need to hear the villains' versions of the fairy tales that made them infamous. In Troll's Eye View, beloved authors such as Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Jane Yolen provide markedly different perspectives on the stories of Rapunzel, The Billy Goats Gruff, Jack and the Beanstalk, and more. Some of these yarns are funny, others are creepy, and some of them are just downright weird. Put them all together and you have a real treat for any fan of folklore, fantasy, or horror.

Groosham Grange, by Anthony Horowitz (Philomel Books). Horror. When David Eliot is expelled from school, his parents receive a letter inviting him to attend Groosham Grange, a boarding school with a reputation for setting misbehavers straight. Upon his arrival at Groosham Grange, David begins to wonder whether his classmates have been scared straight! New students are required to sign their names in blood, French class is cancelled during the full moon, and there seem to be lots of creepy shenanigans afoot. Fans of Lemony Snicket's humor and R.L. Stine's horror will find plenty to entertain them here...if they dare.

More Bones: Scary Stories from Around the World, by Arielle North Olson (Viking). Short Stories. Hailing from Iceland, Egypt, Spain, Japan, Hawaii, and several other spots on the globe, these 22 spooky folktales offer up a wide variety of things to scare you silly. Whether it's a magic spell gone bad, a monster, an evil witch or wizard, or just a particularly nasty human being, each story's bugaboo gives readers a different reason to sleep with the lights on. For even more scary stories from around the world, check out the first volume, Ask the Bones.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two picture books for Halloween by Adam Rex

Being a monster isn't all frightening villagers and sucking blood. Monsters have their trials, too. Poor Frankenstein's cupboard is bare, Wolfman is in need of some household help, and it's best not to get started on Dracula’s hygiene issues.

Adam Rex has written and illustrated two picture books just right for Halloween:
Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (2006) and his newest, Frankenstein Takes the Cake (2008), both published by Harcourt Children's Books. In Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, nineteen funny poems delve into the secret lives of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bigfoot, Godzilla, the Phantom of the Opera, and other scary creatures.

In a range of illustration styles from Charles Schulz to John James Audubon, Rex uncovers funny, scary and clever truths about everyone's favorite monsters.

Loaded with all manner of small rhyming stories (titles include "The Lunchsack of Notre Dame" and "Godzilla Pooped on My Honda"), the book is not merely a showcase for Adam Rex’s painting skills — he’s as equally talented at penning fantastic light verse. This is not a book of rhymes that dumbs anything down, and kids will find the results pretty funny:

If invisible men cause complaint, / get a squirt gun, and fill it with paint. / And wherever you go, / squirt around you to show / who’s a visible man, and who ain’t.


Sure, Hyde was snide, he always lied, / and women cried to see him. / And yet, it still was such a thrill / when Jekyll got to be him.

Frankenstein Takes the Cake goes in a slightly different direction. There are similarities to the first book (the black and white Edgar Allan Poe bits replace the Phantom of the Opera glimpses, for example) but Rex has added a bit of a plot to his story as well. Now you end up with a story, eyeball-popping illustrations, and humor, stuff that kids and adults will find positively hilarious. And yes, there’s an obligatory poop joke too.

So what happens? Well, it’s just about time for The Bride of Frankenstein to get married, and you know what that means. Letting her parents know that she is A) Alive again and B) Marrying a fellow who’s green. Meanwhile there are catering questions to take into account (some advice... do NOT offer vampires “steak” or a werewolf silverware).

There’s a flower girl to freak out (not hard). And there’s a buffet line with some delicious and unfortunate (for Dracula) garlic bread on the menu. Other poems in the book discuss varied topics as the Headless Horseman’s dilapidated head, the dangers of answering your door the day after Halloween, and alien spam. It all ties together by the end, until you’re left with a cranky raven badgering you to finish the book.

Rex’s dialogue-turned poetry is pretty sharp, but there are other shorter poems, based on Japanese haiku, that are nicely twisted too. “A Haiku about Adam Rex” reads, “He knows Frankenstein’s / the doctor, not the monster. / Enough already.”

In the Kaiju Haiku section, there are pen and ink drawings done with just a hint of red. One features red blossoms, falling upon the barren earth. It’s only when you refocus your eyes that you realize that you’re looking at a scene of devastation: it's Godzilla trampling Tokyo. It is accompanied by the poem “An autumn rampage / the sound of leaves and soldiers / crunching underfoot.”

The real reason to buy the book, of course, is its sheer goofiness. Where else are you going to encounter the line “Quoth the raven: Tipper Gore..." The pop-culture name-dropping has been scaled back a fair amount from the first book, but Rex allows himself to be extremely silly in that way once in a while. No other author would ever think of “peep” as one of the ghoulish words of Edgar Allan Poe. (And then there's the Headless Horseman’s blog.)
Both Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Frankenstein Takes the Cake are gross, cool, weird, and fun. Everything, in fact, that kids look for in Halloween books.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New York Times: Best sellers for kids & young adults

Here are the best-selling chapter books from the New York Times of Sunday, October 25. Look for library copies of these books using the World Catalog search box, or purchase copies using the search box here on BookBag.

Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. (Scholastic) The protagonist of The Hunger Games returns. (Ages 12 and up)

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. (Scholastic). In a dystopian future, a girl fights for survival on live TV. (Ages 12 and up)

The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo and Yoko Tanaka. (Candlewick). An orphan in search of his sister follows a fortuneteller’s mysterious instructions. (Ages 7 and up)

Fire, by Kristin Cashore. (Dial/Penguin). The last remaining human monster could save a kingdom. (Ages 14 and up)

Tricks, by Ellen Hopkins. (McElderry/Simon & Schuster). A novel in verse about five teenagers who become prostitutes. (Ages 14 and up)

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld. Illustrated by Keith Thompson. (Simon Pulse). A round-the-world in airship trip before the eruption of World War I. (Ages 12 and up)

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, by David Benedictus. Illustrated by Mark Burgess. (Dutton, $19.99.) The further adventures of Pooh and company. (Ages 9 to 12)

Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater. (Scholastic Press). Love among the lupine. (Ages 12 and up)

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Dave McKean. (HarperCollins). To avoid a killer a boy takes up residence in a cemetery. (Ages 10 and up)

Hush, Hush, by Becca Fitzpatrick. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers). A love story with ancient battles and immortals. (Ages 14 and up)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

English as a Second Language: guides and online links

English as a Second Language is an important part of classroom learning. There are many English-language resources that can be used for ESL K-8 language learning as well. The range of language skills that young ESL learners need to acquire extends from basic speaking skills to expressing themselves in writing. These books focus on providing young ESL learners with all the skills they will need to succeed at school in an English-speaking environment. Search for these books at your local library using the World Catalog search box, or purchase a copy using the search box also here on BookBag.

Ready-To-Use ESL Activities for Every Month of the School Year by Carol A. Josel approaches the ESL classroom based on themes. There is a wide range of activities including stories which help students explore the English speaking world around them.

Reading, Writing, & Learning in ESL: A Resource Book for K-8 Teachers, by Suzanne F. Peregoy gives more in-depth information on young learner language acquisition and literacy development for ESL students. The book presents excellent background material and provides activities to put theory into practice.

101 Bright Ideas by Claire M. Ford provides a wide variety of helpful ideas and activities that can be easily applied to any classroom or learning situation. This book is for teachers and parents who want to enhance their lesson plans.

ESL Teacher's Activities Kit by Elizabeth Claire is a well-organized resource book. Activities are listed by subject as well as level. The activities employ a wide-range of modern teaching techniques, and should interest anyone who is looking to bring a more innovative style to their classroom teaching.

Suggested links for additional ESL practice

There are not many websites designed especially for elementary-age English language learners. In order to provide ESL students with extra practice in English, it is necessary to examine sites intended for English native speakers. Here's a short list of sites in English, grades K-8, that can be used for language and spelling practice in addition to ESL courses. For more information and other links, visit the Everything ESL website of Judie Haynes, co-author of four books on ESL. Reading instruction and reading games for students in Pre-K-1.

Reading is Fundamental.This site has many stories for Pre-K-Grade 2, and writing activities for students in Grades 2-5.

Kid's Lab -Great site with tons of terrific activities. Try the reading comprehension section. There's also a science vocabulary section. -a site with online stories and activities.

Reading-A-To-Z - This is a commercial site with free books that you can download and print. Grades 1-4.

Tumblebook Library - Click on "stories." A large collectionof stories from the Los Angeles Public Library. All grades.

MadLibs for Advanced Beginners in Grades 3-5.

Grammar Gorillas for Advanced Beginners in Grades 3-5

Stories for Kids for Advanced Beginners in Grades 3-5 -This site has multicultural children's stories told by famous storytellers. Be sure to click on "Listen to a story." For Grades 2-5

Arthur -Games from Arthur. Grades 2-5.

Scholastic - A program for kids to make flashcards. Grades 3-8.

Surfing the Net with KidsSite with games and puzzles in different subject areas.

Spelling Wizard - Use spelling words to make a word search or sentence scramble. Grades 3-6.

Word Game Intermediate students in grades 5-8.

Owl online This is a good grammar site for 6-12

FunBrain reading Intermediate students in grades 5-8.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

National Chemistry Week, October 18-24

National Chemistry Week is a community based annual event that unites ACS local sections, businesses, schools, and individuals in communicating the importance of chemistry to our quality of life. The elements are the basis of the entire universe and of life on Earth. Elements are an important part of everyday life -- they compose the graphite in pencils, the tungsten in light bulbs, neon lights, copper for cooling applications, the sodium in table salt — the list literally never ends!

National Chemistry Week is a wonderful opportunity to investigate and appreciate the discovery and use of the elements in every aspect of our lives. Here are some books and resources for young readers about science and chemistry. Visit the National Chemistry Week site, and look for these books using the World Catalog and Amazon search boxes here on BookBag.

Apples, Bubbles and Crystals: Your Science ABCs. "A" is for apple. What makes apple slices turn brown? "B" is for bubbles. How can you make bubble solution from items you can find around the house? "C"
is for crystals. How are crystals made? Children can study the alphabet and learn science at the same time with Apples, Bubbles, and Crystals: Your Science ABCs. Each letter of the alphabet features a poem about a cartoon creature along with a related science activity that you and your children can do together! Each activity is illustrated with step-by-step instructions, and simple explanations for the science behind each activity are printed in the back of the book.

Sunlight, Skyscrapers, and Soda Pop.
Where can you find science? All around you! Children can learn the science behind everyday activities with Sunlight, Skyscrapers, and Soda Pop. Follow Sally and Sammy, the cartoon siblings in this story as they discover science in the kitchen, at the park, in t
he bathroom, at a friend’s house … everywhere! Every time they make a discovery, they stop to do a science activity that you and your children can do together. Sally and Sammy model how to do each activity with illustrations and clearly written instructions. After reading the story and doing the activities, you can take part in a science search challenge! Challenges and challenge answers are listed at the back of the book, where you’ll also find explanations for each science activity.

Chemistry for Every Kid, by Janice Van Cleve (Josey-Bass) Why do newspapers turn yellow? How does bleach make colors disappear? Why can't you mix oil and water? Find out the answers to these and other mysteries of chemistry in this fascinating collection of ideas, projects, and activities that teach the basics of chemistry theory and practice.

Science Experiments You Can Eat, by Vicki Cobb (Harper Trophy) Your kitchen will be transformed into a laboratory worthy of a mad scientist as you make startling discoveries about how cabbage can detect acid, how bacteria makes yogurt, and how decomposed sugar turns to caramel. Then after a long day at the lab you can relax and eat your results: soup, biscuits, pretzels, cupcakes, or cookies.

Eyewitness Science - Chemistry, by Dr. Ann Newmark (Dorling Kindersley) How does a catalytic converter work? Why does a bee sting hurt? Find the answers to these and other questions in this new look at the story of chemistry.

More chemistry resources

There's a whole list of chemistry links with information and further book lists for parents and kids at the website. There are also ideas for experiments you can try at home or school, and guides for older kids interested in learning more.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New fiction & mystery books for October

If you're looking for some exciting reads, here are a few suggestions filled with supernatural thrills and a lot of mystery. You can search for these new books by using the World Catalog search box here on BookBag to see if they're available at your local library, or use the box to buy a copy.

The Ghosts of Lone Jack, by Lance Lee Noel (Spinning Moon Press). Jared Millhouse and his dad plan to spend an uneventful summer on his grandfather s farm in Lone Jack, Missouri. Then Jared runs into the ghost of a Civil War innkeeper and wonders if he s lost his mind. With the help of his grandfather--and some local characters--Jared and the Crossroads Gang uncover the truth about the Civil War battle that trapped so many bloodthirsty ghosts in Lone Jack.

They even recruit a pair of eccentric ghost hunters to help. When it comes to facing the local bully, dodging the power-crazy sheriff, or escaping convicts, Jared can count on his friends. Together, they face haunted baseball diamonds, embattled cornfields and abandoned mines. But when Confederate and Union ghouls line up on the battlefield, the entire town relives the gruesome Battle of Lone Jack, as it was fought in 1862. Then only Jared can save the town from its ghosts.

The Monster Variations, by Daniel Kraus (Delacorte). There's a killer loose in a small town, using a pickup truck as the murder weapon. All too quickly three twelve-year-old boys — James, Willie, and Reggie — are thrust into adulthood as their seemingly idyllic town quickly becomes the epicenter of these horrific crimes. The only protection they have from becoming the killer’s next victims is a strict curfew -- but it’s summertime, and the last thing the boys want is to be cooped up inside.

When Willie becomes the murderer’s next target—and fortunately escapes -- the boys set out to investigate: the murderer, the dangerous class bully who may hold answers crucial to their survival, and the “monster” — a mysterious “dead thing” that stands at the threshold of their manhood. Yet as the violence escalates and their summer becomes more intense with each passing day, the once-united boys begin to question not only the murderer, but also each other -- and themselves.

The Blue Umbrella, by Mike Mason (David C Cook Press). When Zac Sparks’s mother dies, he’s sent to live in Five Corners with his cruel old Aunties. It isn’t long before Zac knows something strange is going on. Five Corners is populated with weird characters—a midget butler, a girl who doesn’t speak, a blind balloon seller, and a mysterious singer who is heard but not seen. Then there’s the Aunties’ father, Dada. Zac’s first encounter with Dada is so terrifying he faints dead away.

The one bright spot is Sky Porter, the proprietor of the general store across the street, a friendly soul who encourages Zac — when the Aunties aren’t looking — and shows him a kindness that is sadly lacking from his dismal life. But Sky isn’t what he seems either, and when Zac learns Sky’s amazing secret he realizes, to his dismay, that this wonderful man may have a very dark side as well.

The Domino Men, by Jonathan Barnes (William Morrow). Henry Lamb, an amiable and anonymous file clerk, pushes paper in the Storage and Record Retrieval section of the Civil Service Archive Unit. His life has always been quiet and unremarkable—until the day he learns that he's expected to assume the covert responsibilities of his universally despised grandfather, now lying comatose in the hospital.

But there are formidable enemies lining up to oppose Henry, all gathering in and around the royal family. His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Arthur Aelfric Vortigern Windsor—the sniveling, overbored, underappreciated sole heir to the British throne—has been shaken from his resentful malaise by grisly, seductive visions of unrestrained power . . . and by an extremely potent narcotic called ampersand.

And an unspeakable evil lurks in the cellar of 10 Downing Street: the twin, serial-slaying schoolboy nightmares, the Domino Men—so-called for their hideous desire and terrifying ability to topple every towering edifice in the city, one after the other . . . just for a giggle.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Super-scary stories for Halloween

Are you scared yet? Halloween is almost here and there are still plenty of great books to read this month. Here are some super-scary stories for tweens to read with the all the lights on -- if you dare! Look for these books using the World Catalog / Amazon search boxes here on BookBag.

After the War, by Tim Lebbon (Subterranean Press) Two short, dark and grim tales of Tim Lebbon's Cataclysmic War cycle set in Noreela: "Vale of Blood Roses" is the story of a mercenary's journey back home and the valley he discovers filled with a strange group of post-apocalyptic survivors, and "The Bujuman" tells the tale of Korrin, a hunter alone and outcast, in his battle to stay alive after a great plague. Continuing to explore Noreela City from his 2006 and 2007 novels Dusk and Dawn, Lebbon himself calls these stories noir fantasy. Both stories are loaded with gruesome sights (especially in noir fiction, apocalypse is not pretty) and the writing is sharp and quick as a knifeblade. Both of these tales read like quick sketches for a longer work-in-progress -- Lebbon mentions writing these while preparing for his latest Noreela novel, Fallen. The reader won't need a deep knowledge of the Noreela novels but After the War might whet your appetite for learning about the history of Ventgorians, the Poison Forest and the Violet Dogs. There's no doubt more to come in the Noreela saga -- best choose your weapon now.

Emily the Strange: The Lost Days, by Rob Reger; illustrated by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker (Harper) Fiction. In her first novel-length adventure, Emily the Strange has amnesia and finds herself in the town of Blackrock with nothing more than a slingshot, the clothes she's wearing (all black), a pencil, and a notebook with 11 pages torn out of it. She can't remember anything--for instance, is she a kid, or just very short? Is she a dog person or a cat person, or does she even think those are valid categories? And what's she doing in Blackrock? Fans of smart, snarky goth-girl Emily -- who graces everything from t-shirts to skateboards to the pages of comics -- will gleefully devour this dryly funny, unusual story tinged with menace and mystery.

Prophecy of the Sisters, by Michelle Zink (Little, Brown) Dark Fantasy. Soon after their father dies under mysterious circumstances, orphaned twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe discover that an ancient prophecy has pitted them against one

another in a mystical battle between good and evil. One of the sisters will save the world -- if she can prevent the other from bringing about its end -- but which one? Set in a small town in upstate New York in the 19th century and written with a distinct Victorian air, this haunting novel features richly drawn characters, psychological nuances, spells, fallen angels, and murder most foul. Shiveringly delicious.

The Game of Sunken Places, by M.T. Anderson (Scholastic) Fantasy/Adventure. If you took Jumanji, made it more sinister and disorienting, and threw in some offbeat humor to relieve the tension, you'd have something like this madly entertaining, action-packed book from the author of Whales on Stilts. Best friends Brian and Gregory have accepted an invitation to spend their vacation at the dreary and isolated old mansion where Gregory's eccentric Uncle Max lives. But Uncle Max's invitation was just a cover for his plan to use the boys as pawns in a supernatural board game with rules they can only guess--and with actual trolls, ogres, and assorted other monsters as opponents!

The Dark Pond, by Joseph Bruchac (HarperTrophy) Horror. Boarding school student Armie Katchatorian inherited strong intuition from his mother, a Shawnee Indian. Since he was a little kid, Armie's talent has made his classmates think he's weird, so he's become something of a loner and spends a lot of time roaming the woods that surround his school. When he finds a dark, eerie pond in the woods and notices that many sets of animal tracks lead to it, but none lead away from it, Armie knows that he's come across something evil. Readers who enjoyed Native American author Joseph Bruchac's Skeleton Man and other suspenseful tales that incorporate Native legends will want to dive into The Dark Pond.

Invasion of the Road Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales, by David Lubar (Starscape) Short Stories. In this collection of 35 tales, a town is overrun by threatening and unsmiling joggers, a girl finds her Halloween transformed by a special pair of gloves, a mummy pursues revenge, and a boy takes a shortcut to an unexpected place. Author David Lubar writes fun stories that range from strange to creepy to totally bizarre; some of them are too silly to be scary, but others are sure to give you a serious case of the willies. Mr. Lubar does something else interesting (especially for all of you up-and-coming writers out there): he explains how he got the idea for each story at the end of the book.

Double-Dare to Be Scared: Another Thirteen Chilling Tales, by Robert D. San Souci (Cricket Books) Short Stories. The scary things in these 13 tales of trauma and terror run the gamut from monsters in the woods to enormous spiders to ghosts, demons, and aliens. If you love getting a good shiver of fright but don't like long books, then this collection of spooky stories and the first volume of horror short stories by author Robert D. San Souci, Dare to Be Scared, are just right for you. Want even more scary short stories? Check out The Dark-Thirty by Patricia McKissack or Beware!, a collection of thrilling tales by various authors that was edited by none other than master of creepiness, R.L. Stine.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Books for Columbus Day

It's Columbus Day, and here are some books with facts about the Spanish explorer and his journey across the Atlantic Ocean in three small ships. While most of these books are meant for ages 8-12, younger readers will find many of the illustrations exciting and colorful. Look for these books using the World Catalog / Amazon search boxes here on BookBag.

Admiral of the Ocean Sea: The Life of Christopher Columbus, by Samuel Eliot Morrison (Little, Brown). A generation ago, this Pulitizer Prize winning biography of Christopher Columbus appeared on almost every recommended reading list for college-bound high school students. Its popularity has waned in recent years, as discoverers of the New World have fallen from honor. But its content is still unrivaled. Lengthy as it is, it reads like a novel from cover to cover. (Ages 12-up)

Christopher Columbus, by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Norman Green (Random House). This easy-to-read account of Columbus's fateful voyage includes maps and a cutaway view of one of his ships. (Ages 4-8)

Columbus Day, by Jimmie Durham (West End Press). Cherokee poet, artist, and social activist Jimmie Durham vividly portrays the Columbus Day holiday from a Native American perspective.(Ages 12-up)

Columbus Day, by Vicki Liestman, illustrated by Rick Hanson. (Carolrhoda Books). This illustrated book tells about Columbus's discovery of the New World and relates the history of Columbus Day. It includes a look atthe controversies surrounding the holiday and discusses both the positive and negative effects of Columbus's first voyage. (Ages 4-8)

First Voyage to America: From the Log of the 'Santa Maria,' by Christopher Columbus (Dover Books). A reprint of a 1938 work, this illustrated book features translated excerpts from the journal Columbus penned during his first voyage. The abridged text ends when the ship reaches land. (Ages 9-up)

If You Were There in 1492, by Barbara Brenner (Simon and Schuster). This amply-illustrated book helps children visualize the world of Christopher Columbus. It examines school, family, government, work, food, clothing, and other aspects of life in Spain, including little-known facts. It also discusses life after the discovery of the New World and portrays the impact Columbus's discovery had on the lives of his contemporaries. (Ages 8-14)