Tuesday, September 02, 2008


SISTERS & BROTHERS: SIBING RELATIONSHIPS IN THE ANIMAL WORLD by Robin Page, illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin)
Did you know that older elephant siblings babysit the younger ones? That peregrine falcon families like to pretend together? That nine-banded armadillos are always born as identical quadruplets? That whiptail lizards only have sisters? That a termite has over a million siblings (makes one or two not seem so bad!) and they all cooperate? That in the world of naked mole rates, the younger sibling must bow down before the elder (as an oldest child, I like this precedent!). Graced by muscular paper-cut illustrations against a white backdrop, surprising facts are divided into meaty and readable bites, manageable for newbies to nonfiction as well as the more seasoned naturalist. Also check out Steve Jenkins' recent LIVING COLOR for an impressive zoological compendium that covers the spectrum, or his and Robin Press's HOW MANY WAYS CAN YOU CATCH A FLY?, hot off the press. How many ways can a child learn about nature? Children can never get enough animal books, and this author always finds the unique angles that keep the subject fresh. (7 and up)

Also of interest:
Speaking of keeping the subject of animals funky-fresh!
ANIMALS CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS SAW: AN ADVENTURE IN THE NEW WORLD by Sandra Markle, illustrations by Jamel Akib (Chronicle) A nifty new series by a nonfiction veteran, the perennial visitation upon the explorer's route is renewed through silk worms spinning along the silk road, stowaway rats, bugs in the grub, sharks swimming the Sargasso and and manatees mistaken for homely mermaids. You can also get on board with ANIMALS ROBERT SCOTT SAW: AN ADVENTURE IN ANTARCTICA; penguin stew, anyone? (8 and up)

Shop with Esme
Unfair advantage of people who read novels: their books fit easily in the purses. That's why I heart my new "I heart children's books" messenger bag, which accomodates all those twelve-inch picture books, and is nice and wide for my multiple-title-shlepping pleasure. Handier than a Prada any day! Another perk is that its purchase supports the Kidlitosphere 2008 conference in Portland, which tragically I am not able to attend this year but is sure to be a blast. Visit their Cafepress shop to see the full line of stylish swag, including a "Grown-Ups Read Kid-Lit, Too" t-shirts designed by the talented Laini Taylor.

On a personal note:
Happy back-to-school to Chicago and Chicago-area teachers and students, with a special shout out and big hug to my son and favorite person, Russell, who starts the eighth grade today! And also, my heart goes out to those involved in the controversial Chicago Public School funding boycott. Your cause is just; whether the actions are right or wrong, I applaud the personal commitment and family sacrifice that went into the decision to participate. If only we as a country knocked ourselves out to fulfill the mandate of Brown vs. Board of Education the way we have done to fulfill No Child Left Behind, our kids would be better served. Until that day, children's books remain our best hope for equalizing education in America; a great book in the hands of a rich child is the same great book in the hands of a poor child. I am so thankful for the wonderful books and the teachers are parents who go that extra mile to read them aloud and share them in so many ways, keeping our country democratic by leveling the playing field through literacy. Keep up the great work, and have a great school year!

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.
More Esme stuff at www.planetesme.com.


max said...


I grew up as a reluctant reader. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 and up, that kids hate to put down. My web site is at http://www.maxbooks.9k.com and my Books for Boys blog is at http://booksandboys.blogspot.com I also have a short story in a new book called LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS, published by Darby Creek Publishing. I'm also featured in an article in the 2009 edition of Children's Wrtier Guide.

My other books are all ranked by Accelerated Reader

Max Elliot Anderson

Karen Evans said...

Hey thanks for the great back to school post! I'm student teaching in 6th grade right now and am trying to read constantly to keep up with all the books that 6th graders are reading. I LOVE talking to the kids about what they're reading and sharing with them what I'm reading. Right now I'm reading The Mysterious Benedict Society which is amazing- I see you've reviewed it before.

I love your books (Educating Esme is my fav.) and I really appreciate your blog. It's a wonderful resource! Thank you for all you do :)


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