Jun 25, 2010

A Day Out with an Author

Most of our work entails sitting in front of a laptop screen or walking around with a cell phone pressed to our head or, in my case, staring into space waiting for some bit of creative inspiration to light upon me. But once and awhile we're out and about, as we were last week when we visited the Loudoun County Public Library to see George Ella Lyon, one of our clients, give a presentation and reading. Bobbie met George Ella a while back, but it was my first meeting. I'm such a huge fan of her work and wanted to just gush, but I felt I needed to maintain some facade of professional demeanor. Anyway, it quickly became a time among friends and book lovers. In between talks at two different branches we had lunch.

(most of George Ella's books were checked out!)

George Ella's presentation included slides, readings, and props (she's an avid journaler & showed some of her journals) as well as a song. She has a lovely voice, strong & clear, and sang the lullaby that forms the text of her picture book Sleepsong. George Ella engaged the kids right away and I admired the way she was able to craft the presentation to interest the various ages present. The photos of her presentation turned out lousy but here's one of the three of us; George Ella's in the middle.

She told us she grew up in a house that had a library built by her grandfather. Doesn't that sound wonderful?

The two branches we visited were both amazing pieces of architecture and design -- one of reasons I love visiting libraries all over is to see the multitude of interior and exterior design and imagination. Here are some photos of the children's area at the Rust branch. I'm a sucker for a nature motif.

Jun 3, 2010

Review -- Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!

Today's my birthday and I'm celebrating by posting this review -- because not only is today MY birthday but it's my twin sister, Bonney's, birthday too!

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same!
Written and illustrated by Grace Lin
Little, Brown & Co., $14.99, hardcover, ages 6-9

Ling and Ting are twins and share the same eye color, pink cheeks and happy smiles. “People see them and they say, ‘You two are exactly the same!’ ‘We are not exactly the same,’ Ling says” and Ting agrees. With humor and cleverness, the six short interconnected stories in this beginning reader point out the differences between the two as well as the clear affection they have for one another. The stories of magic tricks, making dumplings, visiting the library present simple text mixed with understandable wordplay for young readers. Clear, uncluttered pictures on each page, framed with colored borders will also suit beginning readers who are sure to want to read more stories about this fun and unique pair.

Jun 1, 2010

Read LGBT family stories to ALL kids

Since the principals of We Love Children’s Books are also 2/3 of the engine behind Two Lives Publishing, we thought we’d make a post in support of Blogging for LGBT Families Day. Two Lives creates and sells books for children that portray their families; we sell a lot of books to LGBT parents but we have also helped supply these books to schools, where we hope they are reaching kids who don’t have LGBT parents.

We don’t have kids of our own but we have, of course, read the Two Lives books to our nieces and nephews and our (straight) siblings have been good about having honest and supportive conversations with their kids when questions come up about our relationship. Lately we’ve been talking about our commitment ceremony with our 6-year-old niece, who is very interested in weddings at the moment, and we were tickled when my sister related the following story:

In Kyra’s kindergarten class, one of the boys said something about his boyfriend. He was immediately teased by another boy in the class, who told him “Boys can’t have boyfriends.” So Kyra marched right over and said to them, “Boys can marry boys, and girls can marry girls, because my aunt has a girlfriend.” Go, Kyra!

Only a few weeks later, I was babysitting Kyra and her 4-year-old brother Keane, and we were playing with the Anne of Green Gables paper dolls I had brought. One of the dresses was a wedding dress, but Anne’s beau Gilbert wasn’t included in the paper doll collection – only her best friend Diana – so Kyra & Keane decided that Anne and Diana would get married. I volunteered to preside over the ceremony, since I’ve always been kind of in love with Anne myself…the kids enjoyed it all and it never crossed their mind that there was anything wrong with the game. Go, Kyra and Keane's Mom and Dad!

Anyway, the point is, by mixing books featuring LGBT families in with other books in the classroom and in libraries, kids from all kinds of families will have a chance to read them, to see what different families have in common, and to figure out that it’s no big deal if you have two moms or two dads. And when those kids grow up and have kids of their own, the world will be a better place for their open-mindedness.