Enter this competition to win a book

If you could spend your summer holiday anywhere, any time, in the known or unknown universe, where would it be? The moon? A tropical island? 19th Century London? The Jurassic era?

Let us know to win a copy of French Milk by Lucy Knisley. 

And you can find the link here in Pivotal Magazine

The Family Book a tribute to the diversity of today’s families

by Todd Parr

From the Reviews:

PreSchool-Grade 2-

Todd Parr knows so well how to create fun and appealing books for children that promote self-acceptance and an appreciation of the diversity of modern society As he did in The Mommy Book and The Daddy Book (both Little, Brown, 2002), Parr introduces children to an array of families. There are so many different types of families, and THE FAMILY BOOK celebrates them all in a funny, silly, and reassuring way.

Each page contains one sentence about families. For example, midway through the book we read, “Some families live near each other,” which is humorously illustrated by two mouse holes with six sets of eyes peering out. The opposing page counters with, “Some families live far from each other.” Here we see two colorful, alien space families on opposite planets.

There is a wonderful vitality to the book thanks to the bold drawings, bright, nearly neon colors, and handwritten text. The illustrations are whimsical, and figures outlined in black show big ones and small ones, and families that look alike and relatives who look just like their pets. The art features both human and animal figures; thus, pigs depict both a family that likes to be clean, and one that likes to be messy. Some families include stepmoms, stepdads, stepsisters, or stepbrothers; some adopt children. Other families have two moms or two dads, while some children have only one parent.

Interspersed with the differences among families are the ways they are alike: all like to hug each other, are sad when they lose someone they love, enjoy celebrating special days together, and can help each other to be strong. His quirky humor and bright, childlike illustrations will make children feel good about their families.

Parents and teachers can use this book to encourage children to talk about their families and the different kinds of families that exist. And anyone trying to prepare children to understand, appreciate and embrace the differences that they will encounter in their lives. In particular, biracial, adoptive and alternative families will find this book a very special addition to their home libraries.

A wonderful, caring tribute to today’s diverse families”

TWILIGHT & Comic Books – More Alike Than We Know

With all the hype over this weekend’s opening of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, comic book fans can take comfort in the fact that much of the Twilight saga draws from the exact same story elements as superhero comic books.

Teaching onomatopoeia? Try Rattletrap Car

Rattletrap Car

By Phyllis Roots

An uproarious tale of a family’s trip in a rattletrap car. The rattletrap car doesn’t go fast and it doesn’t go far – and when a family set off to the lake in it one hot day it soon starts to fall apart.

“Completely brilliant… Funny, original and beautifully drawn… Ideal for reading aloud.” The Independent on Sunday

More information at


3 excellent Library/Classroom Suggestions

Lesson Idea on using onomatopoeia

Examples of Art by Jill Barton

Read and listen to the book online

How ‘Clifford, the Big Red Dog’ started

Norman Bridwell, the creator of “Clifford, the Big Red Dog,” shares how the books and TV series about the lovable, giant dog and his pal Emily Elizabeth got started.

It was 1963, and Norman Bridwell, the father of an infant daughter, was broke and desperately searching for work as a commercial artist in New York City.

Figuring he had to try everything, Bridwell put together a portfolio of illustrations and began to make the rounds of children’s publishers. He didn’t have any luck, but an editor at Harper & Row looked closely at one sample, which showed a little girl with a huge red dog, and suggested that “there might be a story in this,” Bridwell recounted in a recent interview.

>>> read more

Harry Potter reduces childhood accidents

Again from the archives …

Reading James Meikle’s article in The GuardianHow Harry Potter staves off childhood accidents.
So we can conclude, can we, that reading reduces childhood accidents – or is it just Harry Potter? And if so, something that I’ve been wondering for a while – can we claim Harry Potter as “reading” or is it just a phenomenon, a trend?. It must be the Superman television and not the comics that caused all those little boys (and girls!) to jump off roofs.James’ article in part:  “Harry Potter’s spells have made children less accident-prone. Numbers attending a hospital emergency department fell when new books by JK Rowling hit the shops. Doctors in the department of orthopaedic trauma surgery at the John Radcliffe hospital, Oxford, checked how many seven- to 15-year-olds suffered muscle and bone injuries needing treatment over the past three summers. They found there were 36 and 37 instances when the last two Potter books came out in June 2003 and July 2005, while the average for other weekends was 67, they say in the British Medical Journal.”

I wonder if the trend continued??!!

Somerset International Conference for Librarians and Teachers

registration for the 2010 Somerset
International Conference for Librarians and Teachers is now open.

The theme ‘Reading Locally, Learning Globally: creating a universal experience’ will
provide an excellent opportunity for delegates to hear and learn from
international library professionals and literary specialists.

Registration covers two days of wonderful Professional Development.
Conference Monday will be held on 15 March 2010 at an exciting new venue
– Conrad Jupiters Hotel, Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. Workshop Tuesday will
be held at the Somerset College Library on 16 March 2010.

Presenters at the 2010 Somerset International Conference include:

*        Dr Carol Gordon – Associate Professor at Rutgers University,
School of Communication and Information and Co-Director of the Centre for
International Scholarship in School  Libraries
*        Janet DeNeefe – founder and Director of the Ubud Writers &
Readers Festival
*        James Moloney and Anthony Eaton – award wining Australian
*        Kevin Hennah – Retail and Library Consultant
*        Keith Webster – Librarian and Director of Learning Services at
the University of Queensland
*        Marj Kirkland – CBCA National President
*        Maggie Garrard – Education Officer Australian Children’s
Television Foundation

This, the 9th Somerset International Conference for Librarians and Teachers,
promises to be a valuable, enlightening and professionally rewarding event
for all. Registration is available both on line (credit card only) and via
the attached registration form. Early Registration discounts apply until 8th
February 2010.

Further details will be posted on the Conference Website and information
will be updated on a regular basis. As always, should you have any queries
please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

I would like to thank you for your continued support and look forward to
welcoming you to the Gold Coast in March 2010.

Best wishes

Andrew J Stark
Head of Library Services and
Somerset International Conference Director<