Friday, June 8, 2012

Don't Sit On the Baby! by Halley Bondy (nonfiction) - babysitting skills and safety guide

book cover of Dont Sit on the Baby by Halley Bondy published by Zest Books
Thinking about babysitting to make money?
Can you tolerate runny noses and poopy diapers?
Are you calm in emergency situations?
Ready to fold paper hats or read a bedtime story?

With the advice and skills in this book, you can become a better sitter as you advertise and run your own business providing an important service for parents and families in your community.

So update your infant and children CPR training, practice your pattycakes and freeze tag skills, and keep both eyes on the kiddos with your cellphone in your pocket for emergencies on the job.

As a mom, grandmother, and former babysitter, I think that Don't Sit on the Baby  is a great addition to your sitter's bag, along with the storybooks, washable markers, and origami paper. Get it today at your local independent bookstore and ask your library to get a copy so other sitters can be prepared, too.

Book info: Don't Sit On the Baby: The Ultimate Guide to Sane, Skilled, and and Safe Babysitting / Halley Bondy. Zest Books, 2012.  [author's website]   [publisher site]

My Recommendation: Babysitting can be a great way for teens to earn money and gain skills for future jobs. Use the advice and fun hints in this guide to get ready for the unique challenges of caring for children while learning how to balance their fun and safety, too.

First off, take the quiz in chapter one to see if your personality is suited for being a sitter. The author is very honest about the messes and possible behaviors of newborns, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and grade-school kids. Certification in infant and child CPR is a must for any potential sitter. Keeping parents up-to-date on possible concerns about kids’ health and behavior is part of the job, too.

Diapers and potties are part of any sitting job, as is safety in the house and outside. Important issues covered include being prepared for emergencies, creative playtime, feeding hungry kids, homework help, dealing with tantrums, bathing kids safely, and getting them to sleep.

Enjoy “Tales From the Crib” recounted by teen sitters, like the lengthy question-and-answer game to find something (anything!) that a toddler would eat, an unstoppable smoke alarm, and the four-year-old who discussed how her boyfriend proposed marriage on the playground.

Since sitting involves money, this book also includes advice on how to advertise, interviewing with parents, deciding how much to charge, your income tax obligations, and how to gracefully resign. An annotated list of websites about sitter training, emergency information, and kid-friendly entertainment ideas rounds out this great guide to a popular and important teen job. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation (graphic novel)

book cover of Ray Bradburys Fahrenheit 451 Authorized Adaptation graphic novel by Tim Hamilton published by Hill and Wang
We've lost another great master of the written word, of creating stories in our heads through words on a page, with the death of author Ray Bradbury at age 91.

Among Bradbury's most noted works is Fahrenheit 451  (which he says as "four-five-one" not "four fifty-one").  It is our great good fortune as readers that he agreed to its adaptation as a graphic novel in 2009 and fully participated with artist Tim Hamilton in selecting which exact passages from the 1953 book were used in this authorized adaptation.

Yes, all the word bubbles and captions in this graphic novel are Bradbury's own, complemented perfectly by Hamilton's incandescent illustrations.

Get your hands on this great trade paperback book today at your local library or independent bookstore  and keep on reading widely - Ray would like that.

Book info: Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation / Tim Hamilton and Ray Bradbury, illustrated by Tim Hamilton; with introduction by Ray Bradbury.  Hill and Wang, 2009. [Tim Hamilton's website]   [Ray Bradbury's website]    [publisher site]     [video: Ray Bradbury on his books as graphic novels 

My Recommendation:  The future sees unified thought as productive, original opinion as unpatriotic, books as divisive. The firemen burn hoarded books to keep useless emotions and original thinking from hurting society in this time of war.

Guy Montag has been a fireman for ten years. As a wandering teen in their neighborhood asks questions about happiness and why everyone drives fast to avoid seeing the flowers, Montag wonders if anyone has real conversations anymore or just watches their television walls all day and all night.

The memory of an old woman who chose to be burned along with her books haunts him now – what is in books that made her stay with them? Montag feels compelled to find out, seeking the answers in contraband books, sliding further and further from unified thought.

This intense graphic novel adaptation of the classic includes an introduction by Ray Bradbury himself, tracing the original book’s development and asking readers which one book they would choose to memorize and protect from destruction.  (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Wicked and the Just, by J. Anderson Coats (fiction) - English overlords, Welsh rebels, dark times

book cover of The Wicked and the Just by J Anderson Coats published by Harcourt
In a conquered land, starvation fells the youngest and oldest,
memories and hunger gnaw at those who can still work,
who suffer under heavy taxes, hating their English overlords.

The Welsh nobles and working folk have been thrown out of their town, forced into damp stone huts, forbidden to gather in groups or carry weapons,  and the spark of rebellion still burns.

Caernarvon Castle in the late 13th century is a mighty stone structure overlooking the river and town, garrisoned by the King of England's soldiers for the past decade.

Torn away from the land where she was born, where people speak good English, not this "tongue-pull" sing-song Welsh, a young lady is aware of only what she wants to see in her new home, oblivious to the dangerous currents of local politics that may pull her under forever.

Jillian Anderson Coats' debut novel illuminates a small slice of history through two unforgettable voices, as Cecily and Gwenhwyfar wish their paths had never crossed, but must carry their own burdens through to the end. You'll find this May 2012 release now at your local library or independent bookstore.

Book info: The Wicked and the Just / J. Anderson Coats. Harcourt, 2012. [author's website]   [publisher site]  [book overview video]  

My Recommendation:   Cecily isn’t happy about moving from the family estates to Wales. Nor are the Welsh happy to have their homes taken over by Englishmen sent by the King to subdue them. So many tensions and such oppression… a tinderbox just waiting for a spark of rebellion.

If only her uncle hadn’t returned from the Crusades, then Cecily would have inherited Edgeley Hall from her father, ever staying near the grave of her loving mother. But as the younger brother, her father has no land now and jumps at the chance to rise in the King’s service. As a burgess in Caernarvon, he’ll be free from forced military service and heavy taxes imposed on the conquered Welsh. Better yet, Cecily will become lady of the house and perhaps find a suitable husband someday among its English nobles.

Gwenhwyfar is Cecily’s age, working dawn to night for the Edgeleys to earn enough to keep her younger brother and crippled mother alive. Agonizing as Gruffydd falls in with men who whisper plans of rebellion, the Welsh girl despises Cecily’s snooty manners as much as she longs to take the crusts that the English girl casts aside.

How bitter to be a servant in the house which truly belongs to Daffydd, a Welsh nobleman reduced to hauling quarrystones, to see that brat Cecily sewing in the parlour where she should be as Daffydd’s wife, to know that Welsh children are dying daily from starvation as the English burgesses hoard grain in the King’s castle above Caernarvon city…

Ten years is a long time to be conquered and spat upon, long enough to make bitter plans for revenge, desperate enough to rebel despite overwhelming odds – 1293 may be the worst of times to be English in Wales.

Told from two very different points of view, The Wicked and the Just  takes readers to a little-noted historical era as the age-old struggle for power roars through town and castle. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Arise, by Tara Hudson (fiction) - spirits prowling New Orleans

Book cover of Arise by Tara Hudson published by Harper Teen
It's getting worse for the young couple,
Joshua looks like a loner at school because he'd rather talk to her, and no one else can see mostly-dead Amelia.

And when they kiss, Amelia vanishes spontaneously, reappearing elsewhere with no control over her location.

A trip out of town for the holidays doesn't sound half-bad, even if they might encounter Joshua's grandmother Ruth who's a Seer dedicated to eliminating all ghosts like Amelia.

Happy Book Birthday tomorrow (June 5th, 2012) to Arise!  You'll enjoy this spooky adventure even more if you read Hereafter  first to learn how Amelia and Joshua met (my no-spoiler recommendation here), so grab it at your local library or independent bookstore, then head for the French Quarter with Arise.

Book info: Arise (Hereafter series, 2) / Tara Hudson. Harper Teen, 2012. [author's website] [publisher site] [book trailer]  

My Recommendation:  Amelia longs to kiss Joshua, but the spirit-girl just poofs away when she touches the human boy, rematerializing somewhere else. Perhaps his Seer relatives in New Orleans have an answer to their dilemma, or perhaps the couple is walking into a sinister trap.

Getting away from the evil beings clustered near the High Bridge should be holiday enough, but it’s a long, awkward trip from Oklahoma to the Crescent City. Josh’s sister Jillian can sense Amelia in the car, and their parents get them lost more than once. Dozing off, Amelia is brought into the spirit world, seeing her father at last! He’d died shortly after she did, but she hadn’t been able to locate his spirit until now – and he brings her a chilling warning about rising rivers.

Entering the Mayhew family’s ancestral home is like walking into a supernatural force field, as all the relatives gathered there for Christmas are Seers attuned to the spirit world. The teen cousins can see Amelia’s ghost-form and include the newcomers in their mysterious winter-break plans.

Amelia encounters ghosts wandering around the French Quarter tourist areas who warn her of dark demons gathering nearby, all invisible to the living. Gabrielle is another thing entirely, a spirit-girl they meet at a Voodoo shop, one ghost who’s found a way to stay with the living and might be able to help Amelia do the same. For every time that Amelia vanishes and reappears, yet another piece of her ghostly form is lost…

Is it coincidence that the dark forces are rising just when the Seers of the Mayhew clan are all in one place? Can Gaby’s midnight ceremony in the graveyard anchor Amelia in the world of the living? Or should she stick with her plan to save Joshua and his family from the deepest evils by disappearing from his life forever?

This sequel to Hereafter travels from countryside to city, from known dangers to unforeseen perils, from the hope of being together for a lifetime to the agony of potentially being apart forever – ghosts and Seers alike have little time to discover their allies and enemies. (One of 5,000 books recommended on Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.