Chinese New Year starts this week, and with it, dragon parades, fireworks and all sorts of tasty celebrations. So this is the perfect time to talk about award-winning Bay Area writer Ying Compestine and her newest book for kids. From hungry ghosts to “boy dumplings,” Chinese food, culture and folk tales have always appealed to Compestine, whose young adult novel about China’s Cultural Revolution, “Revolution is Not a Dinner Party,” won 19 major literary awards. Now she’s back in bookstores with a picture book for kids, “The Runaway Wok.” It’s the rollicking tale of a magical wok, a poor family and an unexpectedly splendid Chinese New Year celebration. Very, very fun – and it can be yours!
Click “comments” and tell us, do your kids celebrate Chinese or Lunar New Year? We’ll draw a winner’s name next week. (Meanwhile, congrats are in order for Marci, who won “The Grouchy Ladybag”!)
Christmas is nearly here and we don’t know about you, but at our house, it’s a season that calls for books, books and more books. And this one – “The Elves’ First Christmas” by Atsuko Morozumi – is particularly charming. The Japanese author and illustrator is a graduate of the Royal College of Art in London, and we’re kinda wishing those illustrations were available as posters! Want a copy of the book? Click “comments” and tell us, what do you leave for Santa on Christmas Eve? A plate of cookies? A carrot for the reindeer? A glass of Scotch? (Hey, it’s cold outside!) We’ll draw a winner’s name on Monday, and get that book headed your way before the big day.
Meanwhile, congrats are due to Judy W, who won Lidia Bastianich’s “Nonna Tell Me a Story”!
Whew — got so behind on this whole book giveaway thing. Sorry ’bout that! But we’re back on track, and this time, we’re giving away a copy of Lidia Bastianich’s – yes, that Lidia Bastianich, of culinary and TV fame – “Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen: Nonna Tell Me a Story.” It’s the most darling book – in fact, we liked it so much, we included it in our newspapers’ holiday gift guide for foodies under “books for kids.” It’s a sweet recollection of Bastianich’s childhood holiday traditions, with recipes for 15 Italian sweets, including Almond Apricot Butter Cookies, Chocolate Stars and Crostoli. And Laura Logan’s illustrations capture not only Bastianich’s famous cherubic countenance, but her grandchildren’s too. It’s perfect for kids ages 4-8.
And it can be yours! Click “comments” and share your favorite childhood holiday memory. We’ll draw a winner’s name next week. (Congrats, by the way, to Noreen, who won the amazing maze book!)
Every kid has pesky little habits and thumb sucking can be one of the most difficult to give up. Fortunately, New York Times bestselling author Elise Primavera understands. The author of “Auntie Claus” and a dozen other books has a new one out and it’s devoted to “Thumb Love.” It’s the story of Lulu, her beloved thumb, and her adorable efforts to quit – and it’s a story any current or recovering thumb sucker (or parent) can relate to. And it can be yours!
Click “comments” and share your best tip for getting your kid to quit this or any other habit. What worked for you? Bribes? Encouragement? A sock over the offending digit? We’ll draw a winner’s name next week. Meanwhile, congrats are in order for Cindi, who won the last go-round. Cindi, that copy of “All the Seasons of the Year” is heading your way!
Happy autumn! This week we’re giving away a copy of Deborah Lee Rose’s charming “All the Seasons of the Year,” a wonderfully illustrated, rhyming recounting of all the ways children – and kitties, piggies and pupppies – are loved throughout the year. Too cute for words, with lines like, “I love you when autumn fills the sky – when geese spread their wings and start to fly, when trees wear a gold and scarlet crown and leaves come gently drifting down.” And it can be yours! Click “comments” and tell us about one of your family’s favorite autumn rituals. We’ll pull a winner’s name next week.
Shark bites, park predators, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll! Yep, 21st century parents have plenty to worry about. Only problem, says Christie Barnes, founder of Paranoid Parents Anonymous and author of the irresistible “Paranoid Parents Guide,” is that we’re worrying about the wrong things. Contrary to popular belief, your child is not going to get bitten by a shark. Really. He’s much more likely to end up in the emergency room with a massive head injury from falling out of the grocery cart. Kidnapped? No, no, no. But while we’re worrying about fatal mishaps… how well have yo attached your tot’s car seat?
In short, the book makes for some compelling reading. So this week, we’re giving away a copy of the bright green guide, sharing our deepest, paranoid fears, and debunking a few myths, one each day. Want a copy of the book? Click “comments” and tell us, what’s your greatest fear? Sharks? Strangers? We’ll draw a winner’s name next week.
(P.S. Congrats go out to Cindi, who won the last giveaway. Cindi – that Teeny Tiny book is yours!)
This adorable picture book is really five teeny tales, just the right length for bedtime (or naptime) storytelling. Sarah Hayes’ “Teeny Tiny Tales for Toddlers” is all about the teeny tiny people who live in the garden. They’re not quite fairies, not quite elves, just seriously adorable. The prose has a nice lilting quality that will delight the pint-sized crowd and help lull the sleepies. And it can be yours! Click “comments” and tell us, what’s your family’s bedtime ritual? We’ll draw a winner’s name next week.
Speaking of which, congrats are due to Janna, who won Jan Brett’s “Little Dassies”! And thanks to everyone who entered and shared such great ideas for that next library foray.
We’ve always been major Jan Brett fans – the stories! those illustrations! the little extras hidden in the decorative borders! Now Brett has a new book out, “The Three Little Dassies.” It’s the classic tale of the three little piggies, transplanted to Namibia in southern Africa, and it’s every bit as charming as all of Brett’s previous books. Adding to the fun, Brett is embarking on a national book tour which will bring her to Pleasanton and Menlo Park on Oct. 23 – and yes, we’ll be sure to remind you when the date draws near.
Meanwhile, we’re giving away a copy of the just published “Dassies” and all you have to do is click “comments” and tell us, what’s your favorite riff on the little pigs’ tale? (I’m partial to John Scieszka’s “True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” told from the abused wolf’s perspective!)
(Congrats are due, by the way, to Tess, who won last week’s “Dora & Diego Let’s Cook”!)
None of this is terribly unusual, says Laura Wattenberg, founder of BabyNameWizard.com. The 1960s and early ’70s saw a sudden rise in the popularity of “Bewitched” names – hello, Tabitha! And there are a bunch of Buffys and Pipers running around today. But, says Watternberg, “If you want the really hard-core ‘Twilight’ fans who were really inspired by the book and not just the name, there were 17 baby girls last year named Renesme (pronounced Ruh-NEZ-may). That’s not a name that you say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve always liked that name.'”
Renesme?? Seriously? OK, take the poll and tell us what you think.
A little girl who loves to twirl, a plethora of pink tutus and delightful rhyming prose combine to make Leslea Newman’s “Miss Tutu’s Star” (due out August 1 from Abrams Books for Young Readers) a winner for the preschool and young elementary set. We are helpless to resist lines like,
“Selena took some steps with flair and landed on her derriere. She sighed and said, ‘I’m such a klutz.’ Miss Tutu said, ‘But you’ve got guts.”
Plies, releves and arabesques – plus charming illustrations (including the one pictured here) by Carey Armstrong-Ellis – make this picture book a winner. And it can be yours!
Click comments and tell us about your kids’ extra-curricular experiences – do you have a little ballerina, a budding flutist or fledgling swimmer? What age did they start? We’ll pick a winner’s name next week!
Speaking of which, congrats are due to reader Jackie, who won last week’s “Giggle, Giggle, Quack” DVD!