Tag: Oz Events

Come catch the holiday spirit with Greg Pizzoli’s ’12 Days of Christmas’

We all know how the song goes: “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a partridge in a pear tree.” 12 days of christmasFollowed by turtle doves, french hens, and five golden rings. Greg Pizzoli re-imagines this classic Christmas carol in his newest picture book for children, The Twelve Days of Christmas. With each introduction of a new day of Christmas, an elephant family receives the gift that corresponds to each day according to the carol. Have you ever really stopped to think about what would happen if you had a room filled with an assortment of birds? Namely, six geese a-laying and seven swans a-swimming? It would be chaos. Pizzoli takes the this carol and makes it literal, making parents and young readers alike giggle over the growing amount of gifts that the little elephant family just does not know what to do with.

You may recognize Greg Pizzoli from his picture book The Watermelon Seed, which won a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award in 2014. Join Greg at Lemuria Books on Friday, December 1, to kick off the holiday season with a signing and story time for The 12 Days of Christmas, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Can’t make it but want to reserve a picture book as a gift for the holidays? Call us at 601-366-7619 or visit our website.

Interview with Jimmy Cajoleas, author of GOLDELINE and Jackson, Mississippi Native!

author photo (1)A little girl with shining hair helping rogue bandits in the dark forest of the Hinterlands, discovering her magic while escaping the evil Townies who killed her mother for being a witch, Jimmy Cajoleas’ book GOLDELINE is a richly told story that is perfect for fans of David Almond, J.A. White’s The Thickety, and anyone who loves a story that might be scary to tell in the dark. Jimmy Cajoleas is a native from Jackson, Mississippi and he currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. He received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Mississippi. Here, Jimmy Cajoleas answers some questions regarding GOLDELINE, his new novel for kids ages 10 and up.

What are you currently reading?

Oh man, so much good stuff. Last week I read Jesmyn Ward’s new book, and I thought it was great. I’ve been slowly reading Raids on the Unspeakable by Thomas Merton a little at a time, and that rules. And yesterday I finished My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix, which is the rare horror novel that actually made me cry.

When did you start writing? How did growing up in the South affect your storytelling and the kinds of stories you are drawn to?

I started writing not long after I learned to read. I remember making scary picture books when I was a kid, with monsters and skeletons in them. They usually ended with my friends coming to my house and us all eating pizza.

To be honest, I spent most of my childhood imagining I was somewhere else. A jungle, an old haunted castle, Gotham City, a primeval forest…anywhere except where I was. Also, in the South you learn that things are never simple, and never easy, least of all people. All that complication is where stories come from.

Did you ever expect to write a book for children?

I never did! GOLDELINE was my MFA thesis, and it was originally a novel for adults. It became a kids’ book after my agent Jess Regel told me to let the story be what it wanted to be.

In your own words, tell me a little bit about what GOLDELINE is about & when and how you started writing it.

Goldeline is a book about an orphan girl who lives as a bandit in the woods. I don’t really want to say too much more than that, if it’s okay with you. I hate when I know what a book is about before I read it! I won’t even read the backs of books for that reason.

Goldeline herself came from a freewriting exercise. I used to work at a vintage clothing store in Oxford, MS, and there would be long stretches of time when no one came in. So I would sit down with a blank notebook and just write, for hours and hours, with no plan and no agenda. One day I sat down and started writing, and this funny little voice came out. I kept going for an hour in this voice, just yapping on the page. Eventually I figured out it was the voice of an eleven year old girl hiding in the woods. The rest of the story kind of told itself from there.

Of course, that was just a twenty-page short story for adults that no one would publish, which is how Goldeline sat for six or seven years. I never stopped thinking about her—worrying about her, really—though I didn’t quite know what to do about it. Goldeline didn’t become a novel until I was in graduate school. I’d just finished a mostly-realistic novel that I absolutely hated, and I wanted to try and write something better. I told the story to my teacher, the writer Megan Abbott, and she encouraged me to make it a novel.  

Who is Goldeline? Where does she come from? The name, it seems, combines Goldilocks and Coraline, (but I may be off!) Those are both female characters from completely different stories, and do either of those protagonists relate to your own?

The name “Goldeline” actually comes from this Neutral Milk Hotel song called “Oh Comely.”  In the song it’s “Goldaline” (pronounced Gold-a-leen) but I misspelled it by accident and liked it better my way, so now it’s Goldeline (rhymes with Coraline). Mistakes are a key component in my writing!  

The Goldilocks thing is a good call though, since so much of this book happens in threes, same as that fairy-tale. I love Coraline too. Actually all of Neil Gaiman’s stuff (especially The Sandman).

What was your favorite scene to write in GOLDELINE?

My favorite scene to write was the dinner scene at Bobba’s house. It took me a thousand tries to get it right. I remember when I finally nailed it, sitting out on the balcony at Square Books. I think I stood up and yelled, which is something you’re not supposed to do at a book store.

The way I can describe this book is a Southern-Gothic-Fairy tale. The first question is whether you agree with that assessment, and if you do, then the second question is why are you drawn to themes of magical-realism, and fairy-tales?

Sounds good to me! Though I should make it clear that the story isn’t set in the American South: it’s not supposed to be in the “real world.”

I like fairy-tales and magic stories because I feel like they tell certain kinds of truths better than so-called realism ever can. Sometimes big emotions need a ghost behind them, or a magic house, or a generational curse. Strict realism can’t always account for what happens out there. It’s a convention, a compromise, same as anything else.

What is your favorite folk/fairy tale?

So many! My favorite one now is a Russian fairytale called “Vasalisa the Beautiful.” It’s about a girl who has a talking wooden doll that teaches her how to steal a skull-lantern from Baba Yaga so her family’s house won’t be dark anymore. I’d never heard of it until I saw this terrific Annie Baker play called THE ANTIPODES, which makes a small (and thrilling!) reference to it.

What were your favorite books as a kid?

How do I even start? I think my very favorite book was The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt by John Bellairs. I loved the Lord of the Rings and R.L. Stine and Madeleine L’Engle as well.

Will you be writing more books for kids? What do you hope people who read your book take away from it?

Yes! Lord willing, I’ve got a Young Adult book coming out next year, and another Middle Grade book after that.

Honestly, I just hope people like the book okay. It was really fun to write!

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Author Jimmy Cajoleas will be signing and reading GOLDELINE at Lemuria Books on Saturday, November 25, at 11:00 A.M.

Call 601-366-7619 or visit www.lemuriabooks.com to reserve a signed copy today.

 

Discovery brings Twain back to life in kid’s bedtime story

By Clara Martin

What do cooking grease, ornery dragons, and Mark Twain have to do with each other? As it turns out, quite a lot.

At the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California, in a search for recipes relating to a Mark Twain cookbook in the Twain Archives, the word “oleomargarine” pulled up 16 pages of handwritten notes. But the notes weren’t about cooking. These 16 pages comprised a bedtime story, a fairy tale that Twain told his daughters, Clara and Susy Clemens, while in Paris in 1879.

The story ended abruptly with Prince Oleomargarine being kidnapped and taken to a cave guarded by dragons. The Mark Twain House sold the rights to Doubleday, an imprint under Penguin Random House. But with the author long gone and only 16 pages of notes to work with, the story needed some guidance.
Lucky for us readers, Philip and Erin Stead, the team behind the Caldecott Winning picture book A Sick Day for Amos McGee, took the reins in The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine.

prince oleomargarine

But how do you work with a dead man who was writing before the 20th century? By turning him into a character, of course.

In the story (and in real life), Philip goes out to a cabin on Beaver Island to write this story and converse with the ghost of Twain, who interjects in the first half of the story quite frequently. The banter goes on back and forth, with Philip Stead asking Twain “what happens next,” and when Twain’s own story doesn’t fit with Stead’s vision, he goes ahead, sometimes with Twain’s permission and sometimes without.

What ensues is a hilarious feat of storytelling that hearkens back to the oral tradition. As you read, you will feel the need to read this to someone else, to share the story. After all, aren’t the best stories meant to be shared?

So while the Steads make some changes, they stick to the theme that runs through all of their books–the importance of kindness.

The hero of the story, Johnny, is a young African-American boy whose grandfather is a “bad man.” His only friend in the world is a chicken named “Pestilence and Famine.”

He sells his chicken to an “old, blind woman, thin enough to cast no shadow.” This beggar woman gives Johnny a handful of pale blue seeds in exchange for the chicken. She promises him that if he plants the seeds under very specific conditions, then a flower will bloom. If Johnny eats the flower, he will never feel emptiness again. He plants the seeds, and one flower blooms. Johnny eats the seed, ravenous with hunger, but he does not feel fulfilled. He is about to give up when he hears a voice: that of a talking skunk named Susy. As it turns out, the magic flower allows Johnny to talk to and understand animals.

Johnny’s life with the animals is filled with peace. As the old beggar woman promised him, he does not feel emptiness because of his friends. But when they come across a notice proclaiming that Prince Oleomargarine has gone missing, Johnny and the animals go forward to help.

As it turns out, the King is very, very short. So, all of his subjects must stoop before him (or they will be enemies of the state). He claims that giants have taken his only son and heir to the throne. Johnny and the animals follow the trail and end up at the entrance to a cave, guarded by Two Ornery Dragons. AS the narrator says: “An important thing to know about dragons is this: They are always arguing with one another. No two dragons can agree on anything.”

And, as this is where Twain left Philip Stead to pick up the storytelling mantle, this where I will leave you to discover the rest of the tale.

Erin and Philip Stead

Erin and Philip Stead

While reading The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine, I felt as though I was reading a long-lost classic children’s story. Which, in a way, I was. Thanks to the magic and artistry of the Steads, the gem of the original story is not lost. With Erin’s ethereal illustrations that are suited for a fairy tale of this magnitude, she brings Phil’s words, Twain’s eccentricity, Johnny’s pure heart, and the importance of kindness to life.

To borrow from Twain, I think the moral of the story can be summed up as such: “There are more chickens than a man can know in this world, but an unprovoked kindness is the rarest of birds.”

Philip Stead will appear at Lemuria on Monday, October 30, to promote The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. He will sign books at 5:00, and he will read from the book beginning at 5:30.

Author Q & A with Rosemary Wells

Interview with Rosemary Wells by Clara Martin.

In the world of children’s books, there is a duo named Max and Ruby. They are bunny siblings: Ruby is the older sister who is very bossy, and Max is her little brother who is always up to mischief. The Max & Ruby series spans over forty books and now have their own television show on Nick Jr.

rosemary wellsTheir creator, Rosemary Wells, has been writing and illustrating books for over 45 years. She began working in publishing as a book designer for seven years. All through her writing and illustrating career, from her picture books to her young adult novels, Rosemary Wells advocates for children’s literacy wherever she goes. Born in New York City and raised in rural New Jersey, she now resides in Connecticut.

Lemuria Books is thrilled to welcome ROSEMARY WELLS, the author of MAX & RUBY for a story time and signing on MONDAY, OCTOBER 2ND from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. This story time is free and open to the public!

A presentation given by Rosemary Wells that is geared towards adults & educators will run from 5 pm to 6 pm, and a RSVP is necessary. To RSVP, please call Lemuria Books at 601-366-7619.

In an interview below, Rosemary Wells talks about her own characters, her illustration process, and the importance of reading books aloud to children.

What drew you to stories about toddlers and young children?

I can’t really tell you why. Perhaps because I had young children around me, and still do. I find them hilarious. My own childhood–I was as a tomboy, a very dedicated artist, and utterly non-compliant with what I didn’t like in school–also added to this. It always does in authors. We go back over our own lives and see, in the new lives around us, many of the same traits and predicaments.

However, I have also written 4 books for middle grade readers and 7 novels for YA!

Tell me a little bit about Max & Ruby (and your other characters).

What I really love is the sibling dynamic. It is so real. Max and Ruby are my own two children. This is how they constantly behaved with each other when they thought I wasn’t present or listening to them. Ruby never stopped guiding Max in all the ways of the world that Max had to learn. Max never took anything she said seriously. Never listened to a single word she said. This is a story dynamic which never ran out on me. It is a universal sister/brother routine in all countries in the world. That’s the reason the parents aren’t in the stories. None of the funny stuff would happy with Mom or Dad there. So where are they? In the next room, listening!

felix stands tallMy equally favorite character is Yoko. My next book is another Felix and Fiona melodrama friendship book from Candlewick. And next year, I have a book from Macmillan that introduces new characters, Kit and Kaboodle, twin pussycats and their little nemesis, Spinka, the mouse.

Why are you drawn to drawing animals to represent your children?

I draw animals better. People love animals, particularly young ones. That’s why we take stuffed animals too bed—not so much stuffed people!

Children depicted in illustration cannot do what animals can do on a page. Nor do they engender as much humor or sympathy unless drawn by Garth Williams! Kids are more serious to draw and elicit more reader questioning.

Can you tell me about your illustration style & process?

I wish I could answer this better. I draw. I’ve put in my 30,000 hours! I use mostly watercolor but have branched out to pastel. I copy. What I can’t draw well, I copy out of books. When I need inspiration, I look to the great illustrators and commercial artists of the early twentieth century. Trademarks, advertising, etc.  I encourage all my young artists in my workshops to concentrate, copy, and revise. Revise everything, because each time you do it again, the work gets better.

What do you love about writing and illustrating books for children?

It has endless possibilities. It’s what I do really well. It has been and continues to be a very successful career for me. I never tire of it because each book I do is alive. When they stop being alive, then I will stop. Not until then.

What were some books that made an impact on you as a child, and what do you hope your books do for children today?

We had very few books in the 1940s and 50s compared to today. Robert Lawson, Beatrix Potter, Garth Williams, who else? I don’t know. I copied them all. Lavishly illustrated fairy tales. We read them again and again. As a writer, I think that made me realize I better write books to be read over and over.

This is why I know for a fact, that although I had a golden childhood, safe from want, harm, and discord, that my great escape was books. No matter where we are on life’s scale, we need escape. Kids eat it up and they get it best from books. (worst, I have to add from video games, which are toxic and free of any moral compass or other good outcome.)

We need to read real books (not tablets) to our babies, starting very early in the first year of life.

The one great privilege that fortunate, advanced kids have over the less the fortunate is reading-aloud parents and regular visits to the library.

So, if we read to our children twenty minutes every day, they will listen to us, learn from their many books more than we can ever imagine.

When they reach kindergarten, no matter how underserved their childhoods, those children who are read to all the time will be the level equal of any privileged child in their school. They will be prepared to learn and advance in school. If you read every day aloud, you can almost guarantee your child’s bright future.

There are very recent live MRI scans of children’s brains while being read to. The critical development of the brain takes place in the first five years of life and apparently nothing stimulates it into permanent growth like read aloud stories in the parents’ voices. This treasure of childhood, reading aloud requires only a library card.

Books taught me to think in ways neither my parents not my teachers ever taught me. This is why it is so important that we encourage the next generation to be readers. We are in a national crisis in our country today. My two cents is this: We don’t need any more followers in America today. We need leaders. Real leaders are critical thinkers. They become critical thinkers from reading everything, things they agree with and things they don’t. Our kids need this cognitive training in order to become good citizens. Good citizens are independent. Good leaders understand the difference between facts/science and made up fairy tales that are narrow opinions and lead nowhere. If our country as we know and love it is to survive, the leaders of our next generation need generosity of spirit. While very young, the leaders of tomorrow have to learn to be patient, inclusive of those unlike them, kind to the less fortunate, courteous, curious, and able to dream a better world for all of us, not just for self.

Much of this comes from good parenting and educating. The rest comes from books.

Meet Rosemary Wells at Lemuria Books on Monday, October 2nd!

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Story Time & Signing

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Rosemary Wells Presentation on Literacy*

*Adults Only, Please RSVP at 601-366-7619

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2015 Children’s Book Week at Lemuria

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Children’s Book Week, administered by Every Child a Reader, is a celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading. Established in 1919, it is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Each year, book-inspired events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes–wherever young readers and books connect!

For more details, visit www.bookweekonline.com/official.

Here is the schedule for Children’s Book Week taking place in Jackson at Lemuria Bookstore from MAY 4 – MAY 10!

Monday May 4

Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Story time at 3:30 P.M.

Join us in OZ for after school cupcakes with sprinkles, story time reading Uni the Unicorn, making unicorn horns, and face painting!

Tuesday May 5

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Story times at 11 A.M. and 3:30 P.M.

Stop by for story time with Pink Crayon and coloring fun! Turn in this coloring sheet from May 4 – May 10 to help decorate our store front window.

Throughout the week there will be a BIG coloring page from The Day the Crayons Quit that you are welcome to stop and help color in.

Wednesday May 6

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka

Story times at 11 A.M. and 3:30 P.M.

Come dressed as your FAVORITE fairytale character as we read The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Is your favorite character Jack and the Beanstalk? Little Red Riding Hood? Rapunzel? The Frog Prince? Any and all fairytale and book characters are welcome.

Thursday May 7

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Happening all day long at Lemuria. Find one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets hidden around the store for a chance to win prizes.*

*Prizes include candy.

Fondren’s First Thursday (5 P.M. onward)

Then head over to Fondren First Thursday to the Lemuria tent. Katie Hathcock of Music for Aardvarks, Jackson will be playing some cool PETE THE CAT tunes. Join us for a game of “pin the white shoe on Pete the Cat” and face painting!

Friday May 8

Peter Rabbit Costume Story time at  9 A.M. at the Mississippi Children’s Museum and 11 A.M. at Lemuria!!

Hop on over to Mr. McGregor’s garden for a PETER RABBIT story time. Make sure to bring your camera to snap a picture of him (with your child) before he hops away!

HARRY POTTER EXTRAVAGANZA at 4 P.M.

Witches, wizards, werewolves and animagus alike, join us for an afternoon of Harry Potter Trivia, butterbeer, and other magical treats. Don’t forget to wear your house scarf or witch’s hat.

Saturday May 9

Join us for story time with Alice in Wonderland at 11 A.M.

The Children’s Book Council is the anchor sponsor of Children’s Book Week.

 

Augusta Scattergood at Lemuria April 16!!

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood

Augusta Scattergood will be at Lemuria signing her newest book for middle-grade students on Thursday, April 16 at 4 PM!

What a fabulous book! It takes place in Destiny, Florida, 1974, but the story transcends time and place and will feel relevant for young readers today. There’s piano playing, baseball cards, and a girl who doesn’t want to go to dance class. At it’s heart, this book is about a boy who has been afraid to wish for much his whole life, and once he does, he realizes that maybe Destiny isn’t a place you can escape.

From the best-selling author of Glory Be, a National Public Radio Backseat Book Club pick, comes another story from the South, this time taking place in 1974. Theo, (short for Thelonious Monk Thomas), has just had his life uprooted. His uncle Raymond takes him away from the Kentucky farm where he lives with grandparents and drags him off to live in Destiny, where the welcome sign says, “Welcome to Destiny, Florida, the Town Time Forgot.” Uncle Raymond, a Vietnam War Vet and a grump, is none-too-happy that he’s been saddled with the responsibility of taking care of his long-lost nephew.

Theo and Uncle Raymond stay at Miss Sister Grandersole’s Rest Easy Rooming House and Dance Academy in a room above the tap studio where there is a grand piano, bigger than any piano Theo’s ever seen. Theo loves to play the piano—in fact, he lives and breathes music. That, and baseball. In 1974, Hank Aaron has passed Babe Ruth in the number of home runs hit. Theo finds a friend in Anabel Johnson who loves baseball just as much as he does. The mayor’s daughter, Anabel is always coming up with excuses to miss her tap dancing classes and enlists Theo’s help on an extra-credit project to prove the Atlanta Braves stayed in Destiny in their off season. Between piano lessons from Miss Sister and working on the “Baseball Players in Destiny” project with Anabel, Destiny starts to feel like home for Theo. Only problem is, Uncle Raymond doesn’t allow Theo near the piano, and is more concerned with how to get them out of Destiny just when Theo wants to stay there. In one of the best lines of the book, Miss Sister tells Theo, “That’s what happens. You start off dreaming one thing about your life. But you have to be ready for what turns up.” Will Theo make it to Destiny Day, the 100th anniversary of the town’s existence, or will he be whisked away once more?

Destiny, it seems, has a hold on a person, whether they want to stay or not.

Children’s Author Events April 7 & April 8

This week is a big week for children’s events at Lemuria Bookstore! Stop by to meet the authors and hear them read from their books.

HESTER BASS will be here on Tuesday April 7 at 3:30 p.m.

Hester Bass  photoHester Bass is the author of the picture-book biography The Secret World of Walter Anderson, which won an Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children and a SIBA award, and is illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Her newest picture-book is Seeds of Freedom: The Peaceful Integration of Huntsville, Alabama and is also illustrated by E.B. Lewis. Formerly residing in Huntsville, Alabama, she now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her biography (and Lewis’ illustrations) on Mississippi artist Walter Anderson capture the spirit of the Mississippi coast and the artist’s life. Bass writes, “Art was an adventure, and Walter Anderson was an explorer, first class.”
Lewis’s watercolors pay homage from one watercolorist to another. Likewise, the medium of watercolor is useful in depicting the peaceful integration in Huntsville, Alabama in 1963. The book is
illustrated in a combination of muted grays, browns, whites, and bright blues, and there is a beautifully illustrated scene with children releasing colorful balloons in the air. Lewis’ illustrations and Bass’ writing introduce children to interesting people and history in the South.

walter anderson pb9780763669195

 

J.A. WHITE will be here Wednesday April 8 at 4:30 p.m.

thickety jacketJA White Author Photothickety 2 jacket

J.A. White is the author of The Thickety series. For fans of Neil Gaiman, The Thickety series feels like a modern-day tale from the Brothers Grimm. J.A. White’s first book, The Thickety: A Path Begins, was chosen as Publisher’s Weekly Best book and was on several “Best Summer Reading for Kids” lists including Washington Post’s Summer Book Club and Huffington Post’s “Summer Reading List for Kids.” Discover the second installment in this hit-series with The Thickety: The Whispering Trees. Kara and Taff have ridden into the Thickety with no hope of returning to the village. What’s beyond the Thickety? Join J.A. White on April 8 at Lemuria to find out!

 

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