Wednesday, November 7, 2012

~Bluebonnets in a Texas Fall~

The Bluebonnet is the official state flower of Texas.
It grows wild and permeates our natural landscapes & along our vast roadways
announcing the grand arrival of Spring.
First Lady Bird Johnson established as one of her national
platforms the beautification of our nation w/her wonderful
wildflower planting agenda.  And her legacy previals in all the
gorgeous roadways and byways across all of our diversified states.
The seeds are harvested & sold throughout our state to help us to
colorize our natural environments.  They will regenerate after the season if the birds
do not carry them away and if there is sufficient water for growth.
Seeds from packets can be spread generally during the month of Nov.
in hopes of a vibrant and hearty harvest for the next Spring.
In the late 1990's First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush established an annual
event, The Texas Book Festival so literacy could be placed on the front burner
of the State's agenda.  And it has been a huge success.  Authors, q&a's,
seminars, writer's workshops etc. are the platform for getting attention
for literacy.  One of the highlights is the focus for children and the importance
of reading at an early age.  Kids can meet favorite authors, illustrators, do
crafts and listen to live music.  The event takes place every Fall.  And just
as  Texas First Lady Bird did in the 60's, the seeds to lifelong reading and
literacy were planted in Austin, Texas once a year.  The event
has been a huge success and even went into the national spectrum once
First Lady and President Geroge W. Bush resided in the White House and
promoted literacy and education during the National Book Festival held in
Washington, D.C.
And now we have the Texas Bluebonnet Award in which 20 children's books
are selected by the Texas Library Association into a master list selected for
readers in grades 3-6.  There is a huge variety of books to explore.  They open
these books for review by Texas children to read.  The kids have the final say
after spending the Fall months reading and reviewing these titles.  They get to
use personal discrimination to identify their favorite through a voting process in
the Winter.  One title will be selected to stand out as the favorite once the votes
are counted.  A student is allowed to vote on their favorite after reading 5 books of
their choice.  Parents are also encouraged to share in this adventure and read aloud or
along with their child.  Participation in this program also has rewards for the
students hard work.  If a child reads 5-10 books then they may vote and get a pencil.
If 15 books are read then they will be rewarded w/a vote, pencil and each lunch in
the library.  For those kids who complete all 20 books then they get all fo the above and
also an autographed copy of the winning book or a free book from the Spring Book Fair.
For the size of this blog entry  I will only mention some of our favorites.  And there have so
many WONDERFUL books we have enjoyed.  Big Hoot might have a hard time
picking his favorite.  I won't get to vote but that won't stop me from hooting
about my favorite.  And it's a doozy!!  I will save that one for last.
We were excited to see Zita the Spacegirl on the list.
It was a favorite of Big Hoots as he only read it about
4 times over the Summer... No Really... he did..
I know.. pretty amazing huh?  And I was glad since he
had already read it, that was one less book he had to
handle along w/all his homework projects at his new
magnet school.  I like this book because it features a
girl heroine who finds herself in a mess and is trying to
undo the wrong she unwillingly caused.  (oh how I
can personally relate)  ;p
After all of that action and energy spent trying to get back
home from a planet filled with monsters.. a person
might get hungry.  And what kid does Not like a
hotdog.  Heck, my brother used to plan clandestine
operations raiding the refrigerator for the raw weiners
then running off and chowing down while I was growing up.
(now this is the part where the gag reflex sets in for me)
However, both of my hoots LOVE a good cooked (thank
you God) hotdog!!  So enters .....
a fun and educational source for everything fun,
yummy and fulfilling.  There are tons of historical
references to the foods we eat and the places and in
some cases the reasons they were invented.  You might
want to grab something to eat after reading this one..
or maybe even take in a country fair or two.
After that excursion you find yourself up for more adventure in
the  cute book about postcards and camping adventures.  And let's
face it.. what child doesn't dream about leaving home for an
exploration of the great unknown (or maybe even to jsut leave
home after Mom or Dad gets mad at them and the discover all the
injustices that can be rendered onto a helpless & defenseless and oh
so mistreated kid)???
Here is where I might have to take a serious guess and wonder if
this Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie just might win the vote of Big Hoot.
For there has Never been a pickle (aside from the dreaded sweet variation)
that this hoot has not loved and conquered.  In fact, pickle is one of his
nicknames as it also rhymes w/his last name.  So he did speak highly of
this vingary smelly of a book.
Our next selection is along the lines of boys, screams and all that
goes bump in the night.  And we read it during the week of
Hallowee so what better time.  However, this book can be enjoyed
year round.  It is unlike any kid's book I have read before.  And I Loved it..

Scarum Fair is loaded w/blood, guts, gore and all that is creepy
and macabre.  It has a comical sinister undertone that
throws in just enough humor and lyrical style that keeps you
laughing and turning the page quickly for the next entry.
What boy doesn't get into the not your sugar coated
nice and neat book?  Most are into boogers, snot
and obnoxious noises that can be conjoled from their
body parts & crevices.
 Oh yes.. And guess what?  It's a poetry book!!
Yep.. Can you believe it?  Poetry that the kids will
adore since it's all about creepy, crawly and disgusting
things that you might fear..  Even the ghouls  girls
might get a kick out of this one.
Oohh La La.. there is even one that the girls might
especially be drawn to.  Just Being Audrey is a cute
book about Audrey Hepburn and her childhood.
The illustrations are light, fun and classy... all
the wonderful traits that symbolized the classy
woman and idol she became.
It teaches how you can overcome a very difficult
childhood while surviving a World War.  And how
staying true to yourself and what you believe in
can make a huge difference in the world.  It also
illustrates how one quiet, sweet girl grew up to become
an international star that influenced personal demeanor,
fashion and how we can save lives.. one child at a time.
(oh yes.. and for the girlie girls out there.. it even has BALLET)
And speakin' of dancing.. there is a vibrant book on South American/Latin
dance and music.  I never realized that there were so many different styles of
Latin music & dance. 

Under the Mambo Moon is a great book that explains the origin of the different dances..
the Cha Cha, The Mambo, The Tango etc., the musical instruments used, the beats and
the culture behind style.  I have never really gotten into the hugely popular Dancing With
The Stars TV competition show.  I've have seen it a few times just in passing.  Now, after
having read this morsel of knowledge I want to really Watch it as I now Understand so much
more.  It is a fantastic history lesson, music interpretation and multicultural gem.  This book is
written in an unusual format.  And I have to admit that it took me awhile to finally get to that
"Ah Ha" moment where my mind put the subplots together.  But once I got there, I realized that
I was looking forward to reading it all over again cause there was just so much meat there.
Big Hoot wasn't into this book at first, but it to is a poetry book and he was able to pick up
great nuiances I had missed while I was reading this one to him.
The style, rhythm and vibrant colors makes a special impact in this picture book format.
By the end, Big Hoot was really enjoying it.  It's definitely worth a look through.. especially
if you are into the dance show.  It explains much!!
Ellray Jakes is a comforting and not so comforting book about a boy
who "just wants to get along".. the Rodney King of his Middle School.
However, as we who have survived the Middle School angst and ranks know..
That is waayy easier said than done!!
Especially when you have to deal w/parents who don't understand the torment
you endure on a daily basis from 2 bullies that make your life miserable.  This
 book is a great source of help, understanding, conflict management when dealing
with the horrible and ever growing problem of Bullying.
And Ellray Jakes can be a friend to all who have or are having to deal w/
bullying from mean classmates~
And this is where our bookmark rests for this post.  The next three are some
up & coming..and coming up books we have yet to read....
And now I have saved the BEST for LAST..
My choice for the Bluebonnet Award IF they would
only let Me Vote......(grumble, moan,*sigh..hiss)
And how can you NOT LOVE a book
that's first two hook 'em sentences are
"He was the best of Toms"
"He was the worst of Toms"
And it has my very most favorite ever of all times
And two of my favorite authors of the
Victorian Era....
Charles Dickens & Mark Twain
And an alley cat with one
Major secret he's been hiding
his whole miserable life.....
one little orphaned mouse
accidentally comes across it.....
Anyone who KNOWS me knows I have a passion
for books of any kind.. But my achilles heel is
Children's Lit.
There are hundreds of my favorites.. But once in
awhile, a book comes along that literally just
pushes me over the edge.
Holes, by Louis Sachar did it a few yr. ago.
Honestly, AN"YTHING written by my buddy
Louis is a fine jewel among gems..
And like Holes.. The Cheshire Cheese Cat
has so many different subplots, hidden treasures
and historical info that I got hooked immediately.
This book is witty, wry and wonderful.
And to even imagine Charles Dickens with
major writer's block for an opening hook, line
and sinker is a home run!! 
Will Dickens catch the words he's longing for?
Just what happened to Skilley the Alley Cat
and his sad sad story?
Cause I was gonna read before the Presidential
Elections suckered me in and then
sucker punched the crap out of me.. leaving me
gasping in disbelief.
I'm dying to finish this book ... but it's just so
dang cute that I want to slowly savor it
like a cold fresh wine or a finely aged Cheese!!
Happy Reading!!
Our kids are our future.. and by golly they have
their work cut out for them...


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