Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Oh Happy Day!

You may know that one of my favorite picturebooks is The Man Who Walked Between the Towers written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein. I wrote an extensive analysis of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers in chapter four of The Joy of Children's Literature. I love sharing this book with children and adults...both audiences are mesmerized by the story of the French aerialist Philippe Petit's walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. And both audiences always want to know if it's really a true story. So, I show them Petit's audiobiography, To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers, which includes stunning photographs of his death defying feat!

Now there is a documentary about Petit's walk between the towers, Man On Wire, directed by James Marsh. The film won the 2008 Sundance Audience Award & Grand Jury Prize. It will be in limited release in the US starting July 25 (theatre locations and release dates); so limited that I will have to drive to DC to see it. After viewing the trailer (below), I am convinced that it will be worth the drive. I think it will be one of those memorable movies that grabs you emotionally on many levels.

Man on Wire trailer

Below is an interview with director James Marsh and Philippe Petit. In all of the times I have read The Man Who Walked Between the Towers and talked with audiences about the event, I've thought about what a rare and fascinating person Petit must be. The interview reveals some of his eccentric personality, which I loved.

Director James Marsh and Philippe Petit discuss Man On Wire at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

You can watch an interview with Mordicai Gerstein about The Man Who Walked Between the Towers on a NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Eduscapes also has a nice page with links to book connections for The Man who Walked Between the Towers.

If you see Man on Wire please share your thoughts!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Around the Blogosphere

Even though it's the dog days of summer, there's still a lot going on in the blogosphere! Check out these sites and stories:

Lois Lowry talks about her latest book, The Willoughby's on NPR's The Weekend Edition. I posted Lemony Snicket's review of The Willoughby's here.

The UK's Booktrust, in association with Children's Laureate Michael Rosen, has established a new "Funny Prize" in Roald Dahl's honor to recognize children's authors who write funny books. A panel of 5 judges will select a short list of six books in each of two age groups: six and under and seven to fourteen. Books will be selected on September 13th, to coincide with Roald Dahl Day, and the winners will be awarded at a ceremony in London in November. Fiction, non-fiction and poetry will be included. Listen to Michael Rosen talk about the award on NPR's Weekend Edition.

Love nonfiction? Want to connect with the best children's authors of nonfiction? Then the I.N.K blog is for you! Interesting Nonfiction for Kids (I.N.K.) is a blog dedicated to readers who want to learn how nonfiction writers "practice their craft: research techniques, fact gathering and detective work. Check out how they find unusual tidbits, make the facts interesting and write something kids will love to read. Explore how photos and illustrations are integrated with the text to explain an artist's vision of the world." Authors who contribute to the blog include: Sneed Collard III, April Pulley Sayre, Kathleen Krull, Susan Goodman, Sue Macy, Vicki Cobb, Tanya Stone, Karen Young, Linda Salzman, Jan Greenberg, Gretchen Woelfle, Jennifer Armstrong, Kelly Fineman, Anna Lewis, Steve Jenkins, Loreen Leedy, Dorothy Patent, David Schwarta, and Dan Brown. This is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in nonfiction!

The I.N.K. authors are hosting a Spectacular Fifteen Book Blast Give-Away to support the children's nonfiction community. In one sentence or less, explain why you read the I.N.K. blog. The lucky winner will receive 15 SIGNED copies of some of the best nonfiction books available for children. Entries must be received by September 5.

If you are a parent, teacher, librarian or someone who is around kids, you've noticed how much they love graphic novels. However, not all adults are on board with the genre. Never fear! The Graphic Classroom blog is here! A recent post highlighted mini comics: a bundle of 25 for $3...I know, great huh! Click on the link to find out how to order. If you are a reader of graphic novels, The Graphic Classroom is looking for reviewers: "We are especially looking for teachers or librarians in middle school and high school to write reviews appropriate for those age groups. We do not pay, but those "hired" will get to keep the books reviewed for inclusion in their classroom." Click on the link above for how to apply.

Curriculum Matters highlights a new book by Jo Boaler that focuses on why so many students seem to dislike math and what can be done about it. The book, What's Math Got to Do With It? Helping Children Learn to Love Their Favorite Subject—and Why It's Important for America, offers classroom approaches and strategies for parents that she believes can boost students' math skills and reduce their fear of that subject. Parents and teachers may want to put this book on their summer reading list.

The "web extras" for the July/August issue of the Horn Book Magazine is available. This month at the American Library Association's annual conference, Newbery winner Laura Amy Schlitz and Caldecott winner Brian Selznick presented their acceptance speeches. I did not attend, but I hear through the blogosphere that both were unforgettable. Their speeches will be in the print edition of Horn Book Magazine, but there are also web extras for both authors, so don't miss them!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Christopher Paolini on Brisingr

If you are a fan of Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Series (Eragon, Eldest, and the forthcoming Brisingr), this interview on Barnes and Noble's website might will be of interest to you.