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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Some REALLY great books!

Just poking my head out of my self-imposed exile in a Hobbit-hole (where I am trying to make some headway on a middle-grade novel, but keep getting distracted by picture-book ideas) to tell you about some recent releases that you should really, I mean REALLY, pay attention to.

First up, the picture books:

This is just adorable.  If you have read my blog for a while, you know that I am desperately trying to write a chicken book just because....well, I am not sure why.  I just really want to. (The current incarnation also includes a baby porcupine in case you were wondering.) However, now I am not so sure I need to write a picture book with a chicken because this is the best one there is. All future chicken picture books will pale in comparison.  HENNY by Elizabeth Rose Stanton is THE chicken book.

Ah, what can I say about MAPLE?  It is the book I wish I'd had to read to my daughter when we were expecting my next daughter! (The girl on the cover actually looks like my eldest....) Anyway, this book is so sweet--it EARNS its name of MAPLE!  Also, Lori Nichols and I have a special project coming up next year called KITTEN WANTS A PUPPY, so I was super excited to see her 2014 debut.  It does not disappoint.  I feel so honored to be working with her!

Moving on to Middle Grade books:
First, let me say that I don't think this picture does the cover justice.  In real life, it is a gorgeous yellow.  But that is neither here nor there.  It's what is inside the pages that matters.  This book is heartbreaking and lovely and mysterious and the kind of book you think about for a long time after you finish it--I know I did.   When Nikki Loftin asked me if I' read it and maybe give it a blurb last year, I was honored but a little scared.  I mean, what if I didn't like it?  But I made and agreement with myself that I'd be honest and that if it didn't resonate with me, I'd just say so because not every book speaks to every person and that's just the truth of life.  So I read it and it made my heart ache and my eyes tear up because Nikki's voice is just to pure and true.
I am now quite proud that my blurb appears in her book.

Now, I do adore the cover of this book, but let me just say that the story inside is even better.  There is a way this story is told that makes you live inside of it.  You really get to know these characters and the town of Midnight Gulch! I loved my time with Felicity Pickle and am sure that Natalie LLoyd will be around writing wonderful children's novels for quite some time.  She's one to watch, and you'll be able to say you read her very first one!

There is not much I can say about this book but, "Well done, Newbery Committee."  This book is unique and wonderful and gives me hope as both a writer and a human.  Kate DiCamillo does not disappoint.  This might be my favorite book she has written EVER--and that is a very high compliment indeed. (Also, she is the new Children's Literature Ambaassador, which is awesome.)

So, I just want to sit around and hug these books and re-read them over and over again.  Each has touched my heart in a different way, which is exactly why we read, isn't it?  To be changed a little?  To have our hearts filled up?

But now I have get back at it. Stories are waiting for me, dangling about upon the page, needing my careful attention before they blow away with the wind.  Crawl back into the Hobbit-hole, StoryQueen.


PS I'll be at the San Diego County Office of Ed. for their Library Day of Learning on Tuesday.  Maybe I'll see you there!


Elizabeth Rose Stanton said...

Henny says BWWWAAAK (that's chicken for "Thanks!"

Stasia said...

Love love love love FLORA & ULYSSES. I am reading it aloud for the second time to my 8yo. The words are delicious, to say, to hear, to feel in your heart.

Laura Marcella said...

These look great, Shelley! Thanks for sharing.
Good luck with your middle-grade novel AND all those picture book ideas fighting for your attention! :)

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines