Count Down to Christmas with Not-Your-Ordinary Christmas Books

Radios are counting-down to Christmas by playing 30 days of Christmas-ish Songs (In Trinidad make that 100 days...who knew there were sooooooo many).

TV stations are playing 25 days of Christmas-ish Movies.  

I'm joining the festivities with a count-down of my own: 12 Days of Christmas-ish Children's Books, with a twist! I'm listing all 12 now so you can:

  • Read one a Day . . . 12 in one day . . . or all 12 every day!
  • Buy one--or all 12--for tots on your list!
  • Use my list to bring to inspire you to pull your favs off the shelves!
Co-written by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, art by Steve Borkman  

Co-written by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, art by Steve Borkman
 

#12: NAUGHTY!  Alfie F. Snorklepuss doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, and he’s being a real pest about it. Cranky Alfie is everywhere—on TV, in the newspapers, over the radio—telling boys and girls what he thinks is the truth. Then, one Christmas Eve, the man in red himself packs up Alfie and brings him to the North Pole for an attitude adjustment, Santa-style.

Brand new from Anne Broyles, art by KE Lewis

Brand new from Anne Broyles, art by KE Lewis

#11: FOLKTALE-LY: It's time for Arturo and his Central American grandmother, Abue Rosa, to decorate their Christmas tree. Abue Rosa shares with him the family history of each ornament as it is hung. But what happens when Arturo plays with-and breaks-a glass bird?

by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, art by HB Lewis

by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, art by HB Lewis

#10 FRIENDLY: Each year at Christmas, Joe writes a letter to Santa. But they've had a few misunderstandings in the past. Last year, for example, Joe wanted a fire-engine-red racecar with retracting headlights, and he did get one — but it was only three inches long. So this year Joe is really, really careful. He describes exactly what he wants — and on Christmas morning, guess what's waiting for him under the tree!

By Laura Leuck, art by Gris Grimly

By Laura Leuck, art by Gris Grimly

#9 MONSTERLY: Mack and Zack are getting ready for Christmas, hanging up their smelly socks and blistertoe, decorating their dead pine tree, making poisonberry pies. Here in the rollicking rhyme of Laura Leuck and the gruesomely silly illustrations of Gris Grimly, is a truly memorable Christmas tale.

by Kandy Radzinsky  

by Kandy Radzinsky
 

The 1st was so popular, Kandy followed up with the collection of Cat letters to Santa.

The 1st was so popular, Kandy followed up with the collection of Cat letters to Santa.

#8 CATISHLY: A cat-happy twist on the traditional English Christmas song for hard-core feline fanciers of any age. . . . they'll appreciate Radzinski's solemn, admiring paintings of her subjects, each whisker heroically articulated, and her settings (the sleeping twosome curl up prettily in a basket with a Christmas quilt, six cats a-playing are decorously entangled with ribbon and gift wrap).

Leave it to Bob Shea!

Leave it to Bob Shea!

#7 PREHISTORICALLY: Dinosaur is getting ready for Santa! He tackles many challenges--decorating, making presents for Mom and Dad, trying not to be naughty--and defeats each one with his trademark ROAR! But on Christmas Eve, when he hears some rustling downstairs, he can't resist a peek. Will our feisty red friend meet his match in the man in the red suit?

Richard Paul Evans originally wrote this as a gift for his family members. After sharing it with your family, try creating a story of your own? Maybe your young artists can illustrate it?

Richard Paul Evans originally wrote this as a gift for his family members. After sharing it with your family, try creating a story of your own? Maybe your young artists can illustrate it?

#6 WARMHEARTEDLY: Rick, Keri, and their 4-year-old daughter, Jenna, are hired as caretakers and are welcomed into the home of Mary, an ailing widow, just in time for the holidays. Before long, it becomes apparent that Mary cherishes their companionship, and this young family begins to understand that their relationship to Mary is more special than any one of them could have realized. These tender relationships, fraught with real-life struggles, are the backdrop for unraveling a mysterious secret that gently propels the reader through this short story.

Eve Bunting and David Diaz are an incredible author-illustrator duo. Warning: this story will make all y'all think differently about homeless people. CAUTION: could prompt spontaneous giving . . .

Eve Bunting and David Diaz are an incredible author-illustrator duo. Warning: this story will make all y'all think differently about homeless people. CAUTION: could prompt spontaneous giving . . .

#5 THOUGHTFULLY: Simon and his mom don't have much--the cardboard house they built for themselves, a tiny Christmas tree, and a picture of an angel pinned to one wall. On Christmas Eve they take in a frail stranger who needs a place to keep warm, and the next morning Simon wakes early to find that the woman has vanished. Instead, he sees December, the angel from the picture, with her wings fanned out over their cardboard house. Could she be real?

Story and Art by Chris Van Allsberg  Watch the movie, too! Tom Hanks is the conductor/dad!

Story and Art by Chris Van Allsberg

Watch the movie, too! Tom Hanks is the conductor/dad!

#4 MAGICALLY: The tale of a young boy lying awake on Christmas Eve only to have Santa Claus sweep by and take him on a trip with other children to the North Pole

By Eve Bunting, art by David Diaz. These two make an amazing team!

By Eve Bunting, art by David Diaz. These two make an amazing team!

#3 POINGNANTLY: Christmas is coming and Carlos and his family are going home-driving south across the border to Mexico. But Mexico doesn't seem like home to Carlos, even though he and his sisters were born there. Can home be a place you don't really remember?

I love you, Little Cindy Lu Who!

I love you, Little Cindy Lu Who!

#2 Susically: "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" and oh how we love you! Gotta read it every year. Gotta watch the movie, too--two times, maybe more, sing all the songs, feel that heart grow three sizes . . .

#1: TRADITIONALLY: Thanks to Clement Moore for T'was The Night Before Christmas . . . or Henry Livingston, whichever actually wrote the story of Santa's stop one Christmas eve. poem. (A mock trail was even held to determine the true author.) Once a season, at least, this book needs to be read. Which version? You're choice. This classic Christmas poem has been retold in scads of different versions: Cajun, Golden Book, Cowboy, Cat, Thomas the Tank, even Pop Up . . . Call in "Henry's revenge" that royalties for all these go not to Clement Moore's heirs, but to the retellers.

We've come to the end of my counting down to Christmas: 12 Days of Christmas-ish Children's Books List. I hope you'll have as much fun reading through the season as I have!

  • Please add to the list by sharing your favorites. Help build the list to 25 days of Christmas-ish reads, and onto 100!  (Post suggestions in the "comments" section! Curious minds want to know.)

 

Warning: VAMPIRE BABY is coming . . .

Tootie has fangs! And she knows how to use them...

It happens overnight: little sister Tootie goes from cuddly, ga-ga-googoo, I-want-my-ba-ba baby to . . .vampire baby. Now she’s sinking her pointy fangs into everything -- furniture, toys, and especially her big brother ("Youch, Tootie! No bite!"). Mom insists that it’s just a phase, but Tootie’s brother knows better. Just look at her hairline! Or the fact that all her favorite foods are red, blood red! . . .

VAMPIRE BABY is fanged, dangerous, and crawling your way this July.

Treat Your Grands on Grandparent's Day!

Treat your Grands to a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to GRAND Magazine! In honor of Grandparent's Day, September 9th, the folk at GRAND – The Digital Magazine for GRANDparents and families -- are, offering complimentary  subscriptions to my friends. Treat yourself or share the subscription  with the Grands in your life!

Sign up for your FREE SUBSCRIPTION: This link www.grandsub.com will give you instant access to the current issue of GRAND – The Digital Magazine for GRANDparents and families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRACING THE STARS: Just the Thing on a Hot Summer Day

I recently subscribed to Goodreads Quote of the Day. I'm delighted I did; these daily missives provide the jolt needed to spark my sluggish mind. This quote, by the late Carol Shields, author of STONE DIARIES, was the permission--and reminder-- I needed to toss aside all those "must-dos" and DO one of my favorite activities:

"Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve"

Erin Moulton's newest book TRACING THE STARS took me away on this hot summer day!

I didn't stop at 50 pages and you won't either!

 

LET'S GO RAMBLING BLOG TOUR 2012 AWARD CEREMONY

LGRBT 2012, LET'S GO RAMBLING BLOG TOUR launching my new picture book, One Day I Went Rambling, illustrated by Terri Murphy (published by Bright Sky Press) culminated yesterday at with the LGRBT AWARD CEREMONY. A couple of couple of handsome friends, Pucia & Brujita, drew the WINNERS of our LGRBT Cool Prize Giveaway. ONE DAY I WENT RAMBLING's talented illustrator of and blog tour organizer extraordinaire, Terri Murphy, recorded the festive finale on U-TUBE. WATCH THE AWARD CEREMONY HERE: And the WINNER IS... Huge thanks to our blogger friends who hosted and toasted and boasted  (not roasted) us and ONE DAY I WENT RAMBLING.

LET'S GO RAMBLING BLOG TOUR STOPS:

June 8:     “Author School Visits BY STATE!” Illustrator Interview by Kim Normanhttp://stonestoop.blogspot.com/2012/06/pleasant-ramble-with-illustrator-terri.html

  • “Kim Norman’s School Visit & Author Blog” Book Review by Kim Normanhttp://www.kimnormanbooks.com/www.kimnormanbooks.com/Blog/Entries/2012/6/8_REVIEW__One_Day_I_Went_Rambling.html

June 9:   “Simple Saturday” Book Review by Debbie Gonzales http://www.debbiegonzales.com/simple-saturday/2012/6/8/things-to-love-about-one-day-i-went-a-rambling.html

June 10: “Vonna Carter.com” Author Interview by Vonna Carter http://vonnacarter.com/wordpress/?p=7783

June 12: “Little Deb’s Doodling” Book Review by Debbie Meyer http://www.thelittledeb.blogspot.com/2012/06/one-day-i-went-rambling.html#links

June 13:    “Four Thousand Sentences to Go” Book Review & Author Interview by Cindy Faughnan http://www.cindyfaughnan.com/faughnan/index.php/4000-sentences/item/37-picture-book-one-day-i-went-rambling

June 14:  

  •  “The Story Continues -- The Writer's Plot” Book Review by Pam Zollman http://www.thewritersplot.com/news/2012/6/kelly-bennetts-newest-picture-book-one-day-i-went-rambling

June15:

June 16:    “On My Mind” Illustrator Interview with Alison Hertz http://www.alisonhertz.blogspot.com/2012/06/new-picture-book-one-day-i-went.html

June 17:    “Writing on the Sidewalk” Author & Illustrator Interview with Sarah Tomp http://writingonthesidewalk.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/one-day-i-went-rambling-by-kelly-bennett-illustrated-by-terri-murphy/

June 18:    "San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review" Book Review by Tammy McCartney http://citybookreview.com/2012/06/one-day-i-went-rambling/

June 19:   

June 20:      “Kids EBook Bestsellers.com”  Author Interview with Karleen Tauszik http://www.kidsebookbestsellers.com/2012/06/rambling-through-cyberspace-with-kelly.html

June 22:    “Michelle Kogan Illustration, Painting & Writing” Illustrator Interview by Michelle Kogan http://moreart4all.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/terri-murphys-journey-of-a-picture-book-one-day-i-went-rambling/

Thank you to everyone who joined, liked, shared stories, blogged, tweeted, twittered, chirped, chime-in. . . RAMBLED ALONG!

If you're wanting a creativity boost, the whole long and winding ramble is on the LGRBT 2012 Facebook Page

SAVE BOOKSTORES SUMMER

Saturday, June 25th,  was SAVE A BOOKSTORE DAY. Part of a movement to support local bookstores. I read about it on one of my favorite blogs Writing On The Sidewalk.

Agent Kelly Sonnack of Andrea Brown Literary Agency sent out the call to rally everyone in support of bookstores and books.

Why is a "buy a book" campaign needed? Because, as Kelly wrote in her letter promoting Save Bookstores Day, "Bookstores are dropping like flies and we want them to stay alive!"

I'm hoping Saturday every single one of you went out and bought a book. All those who did breathed a little life back into the bookstores. But it's going to take more than that to save them. So, let's give them more. Let's dub this, the summer of 2011:

Save Bookstores Summer!

DO YOUR BIT...BUY A BOOK

Two Fish in the Same Pond…Finally!

….Fish lovers that is. Specifically Norman the Fish lovers me and Noah Z. Jones the Amazing, who illustrated Not Norman, A Goldfish Story. We met up for the 1st time at St. George’s Pre-school in La Canada, California on Wednesday. How? In some wonderful cosmic collision Rebecca Grose, of SoCal Public Relations,

just happened to reach out to Flintridge Books in La Canada when she was scheduling events to celebrate my new picture book, Your Mommy Was Just Like You, and, fellow Vermont College grad Catherine Linka

just happens to be the Children’s Book Buyer for Flintridge Books (which is now is a brand spankin’ new, bigger and better location right on the corner of Foothill and Angeles Crest)

, and Noah’s son Eli just happens to be attend pre-school at St. Georges—what are the chances of that!

Noah, who is quite famous and successful nowadays as creator of the Disney animated series, Fish Hooks took time that morning to pop over to St. George’s for a visit. What a surprise! What a treat! Noah is just as silly and fun and clever in real live as I imagined him to be when he brought to life our funny flippin’ and floppin’ fish character Norman!

Noah and I had never met. Never even talked on the phone before. Never even e-mailed until after Not Norman was released in 2005. (Which is pretty normal in the picture book creating process.) Still, it is kind of weird if you think about it….wouldn’t it make sense for the illustrator and author to chat? Or meet? But that’s not how it’s usually done. The idea is that the author might muck up the illustrator’s creative process by imposing his or her vision over the artist’s. I must admit, judging by the wonderful, surprising art in picture books—especially mine!—the system works!

Our editor, Sarah,  kept telling me how much fun Noah was and how nice Noah was and and and…and finally I got to see for myself! Noah brought his easel, giant paper and markers along when he came to surprise me. And so together we entertained the preschoolers with the story of how Not Norman came to life. For a few hours on Wednesday it was the Noah and Kelly Show: while I talked and read, Noah drew silly, funny sketches. The kid’s heads were bobbing back and forth faster than fans at Wimbledon!

Noah and I had a blast! We’re hoping this is the beginning of more fishy fun! (Hint, hint, Sarah...)