826 reasons to buy

It's that ding-dingaling shopping time of the year again.  For those looking for suggestions, you might consider perusing the wares at the 826 National Store.

The shop is full of things you probably didn't even know you needed.

As well as gifts bound to be suitable for someone on your list.

And the proceeds go to one of the very best of causes.

What’s the 826 National Store?
No, really, what is it? We’re still pondering that ourselves, so if you figure it out please drop us an email. We think it has something to do with an online location where you can purchase products created by 826 National to support all of our wonderful chapters. From t-shirts and buttons to notebooks and stationery, we have 826-inspired goodies aplenty for your perusal. All proceeds support our eight writing and tutoring centers across the country.


The Heart and the Bottle

Dear Helena Bonham Carter,

Will you please, pretty please read my book for me?

If you don't want to cry, then please don't read Oliver Jeffers' The Heart and the Bottle.  But take my advice - sometimes you really do need a good cry and in which case you could either watch The Snowman (and David Bowie agrees with me on this one) or you could read this book.  Or go wild and do both.


Boy and Penguin Are Friends

I very seldom think of picture books in terms of topics, as in "I need a book to explain to my child about first day of school/losing a tooth/getting a baby brother/having two moms or three dads or whatever."  But today I was thinking about picture books about friendship.
And here's the reason why:

We got this book today and we've already said "aw" three times.
Up and Down continues the story from the wonderful, wondrous Lost and Found which I've spoken of before here, but let me just say that if you're buying this book for yourself or someone you love, you're going to want to buy Lost and Found as well.  We're big Oliver Jeffers fans in these parts and if you are too, you might want to seek out his page on Facebook.
I love how Jeffers is able to navigate the tricky territory of friendship without getting sickly sweet but still managing to hit on something you feel in the deep heart's core (as Uncle Willie would say.)


Frances is Fifty

Frances was one of the great friends of my youth and now she is turning 50.
I hadn't realised that Lillian Hoban did not illustrate the first of the Frances books.

There's an excellent audio edition of several of the Frances stories, suitable for those first making her acquaintance.  It was a big hit with my young friend Ezra.


Favourite Canadian Books

There will be a call-in discussion of children's books on CBC Radio Maritime Noon today at ... well, noon actually.

On the program:   Kathleen Martin, vice-president of the Writers' Federation of Nova Scotia and the author of seven works of non-fiction, Mary Ann Gallagher, who owns Benjamin Books in Rothsay, New Brunswick, and Barb Kissick, a Youth Services Librarian at the Charlottetown branch of PEI's Public Library Service. 

A Cloudy ABC

Here's a woman who has really looked at clouds from both sides now.

From Metro.co.uk:

It has become a real passion,’ said Daniele from her home in Zurich, Switzerland.
‘I find myself constantly looking up into the sky and seeing different pictures and shapes. ‘After I saw the letter ‘‘L’’ I decided to spot the whole alphabet. As far as I know no one has found all 26 letters in the clouds before.’


Remembrance Day

My young son's first literary prize.  

Here's a little sample:

I walked across the street, a ringing in my head.
What was going on? Why did I feel dead?
I wondered if I would see my wife again.
I wondered if I’d live to show her the wonders of Big Ben.
Tears trickling down my face and zeppelins in the air,
Smoke rising to the highest heights but not a soul was there.


11th Day, 11th Hour

Thinking more about Remembrance Day this year for a variety of reasons and because we are back in the Maritimes, my boys will be laying a wreath in honour of their great-grandfather,  a lovely man who I wish they could have known.

I received the following video from Linda Granfield, author of Remembering John McCrae: Soldier-Doctor-Poet.  McCrae was, of course, the author of "In Flanders Field."

Here's the info on the video:

"11th Day, 11th Hour" is a song that honours all who have served in the armed forces. The accompanying video pays tribute to those from Canada and the United Kingdom who served during the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, in peacekeeping efforts and now the war in Afghanistan.   Recently, the song has been arranged for a children's choir. It provides a companion piece to the song "In Flanders Fields," performed by many choirs around the world. "11th Day, 11 th Hour" was written by Saxon-Jaimes-Dooley and appeared (original version) on a 2001 CD called "The Poppy Disc." 

Pass it on.