Monthly Archives: August 2012

Monkeying Around

My granddaughter and nieces are wild about monkeys. They have sock monkeys from teeny tiny sizes to versions as tall as they are. The monkeys come in all colors of the rainbow and some even have their own pets to carry and cuddle. Here is a list of books about and including monkeys. May the monkey loving readers in your life enjoy them.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2012 Kids’ Next List) Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl Who needs a ladder when you’ve got a giraffe with an extending neck? The Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company certainly doesn’t. They don’t need a pail, either, because they have a pelican with a bucket-sized beak. With a monkey to do the washing and Billy as their manager, this business is destined for success.

Baboon by David Jones Fourteen-year-old Gerry Copeland has mixed feelings about flying back to his parents’ research camp in the African savanna. While his biologist mom and dad study baboon behavior, he’ll be thinking about the video arcade and restaurants back in the city.

Suddenly, their small plane’s engine stutters and dies. They go down hard. Gerry wakes up thinking a baboon has broken his fall. He’s shocked to realize the furry arm is his own. Somehow, he’s become one of the beasts his parents are studying.

Gerry’s only chance is to stay with the baboon troop. His parents don’t recognize him and he begins to lose hope he’ll ever be human again. His final, desperate bid to turn back means giving up the animal family he’s come to care about for the human family where he truly belongs.

BABOON is the riveting story of one teenager’s journey into the heart of the baboon world, where he confronts terrifying attacks by predators and humans, threatening behavior within the troop, and the day-to-day struggle to survive. (blurb from publisher’s site)

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis is used to being left out of conversations. Though she’s been deaf since the age of six, Joey’s mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. She strains to read the lips of those around her, but often fails.

Everything changes when Joey meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari. Her new friends use sign language to communicate, and Joey secretly begins to learn to sign. Spending time with Charlie and Sukari, Joey has never been happier. She even starts making friends at school for the first time. But as Joey’s world blooms with possibilities, Charlie’s and Sukari’s choices begin to narrow–until Sukari’s very survival is in doubt.

Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls The last thing a fourteen-year-old boy expects to find along an old Ozark river bottom is a tree full of monkeys. Jay Berry Lee’s grandpa had an explanation, of course–as he did for most things. The monkeys had escaped from a traveling circus, and there was a handsome reward in store for anyone who could catch them. Grandpa said there wasn’t any animal that couldn’t be caught somehow, and Jay Berry started out believing him . . .

But by the end of the “summer of the monkeys,” Jay Berry Lee had learned a lot more than he ever bargained for–and not just about monkeys. He learned about faith, and wishes coming true, and knowing what it is you really want. He even learned a little about growing up . . .

This novel, set in rural Oklahoma around the turn of the century, is a heart-warming family story–full of rich detail and delightful characters–about a time and place when miracles were really the simplest of things…

Wendy Martin spends her days drawing fantastical worlds. In the evenings she writes about them, then she visits them at night during her dreams. Visit her universe at her web site

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Fall Into A Book Festival!

Newly sharpened pencils, tart apples and falling leaves — Fall is more than the start of a new school year. In many communities it’s also book festival season! Take a break from the fall rush, meet your favorite authors and illustrators face to face, and hear first hand about the best and brightest new books.

(The gorgeous poster for this year’s National Book Festival was created by Rafael López)

 The king of the festivals is in my hometown, Washington DC. Distinguished authors from every state gather to present their books to tens of thousands of readers, young and old. This year you can climb into Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Treehouse books or shiver your Goosebumps away with R. L. Stine, and that’s just the beginning. Dozens of children’s and YA authors will be headlining this year’s program. And like most fall book festivals it’s all FREE.

After looking all over the internet I couldn’t track down a list of Fall book festivals with great kids’ events so I’ve made one of my own. Here it is!


Sept 17-23 Brooklyn , NY Brooklyn Book Festival  (Did you read and love WONDER? Author R. J. Pallacio will be here!)

Sept 22-23 Kirkland, Washington Northwest Bookfest  (Smart and funky festival, just like the Pacific Northwest. I’ve loved Peg Kehret’s middle grade novels for years-wish I could see her here!)

Sept 22-23 Washington DC   National Book Festival (The king of the festivals. This is a who’s who of the book world- children’s, young adult and everything else from poetry to world lit to mystery!)

Sept 26-30 Fairfax, Virginia    Fall For The Book  (Smart, cool festival on the heals of the big one in DC)

Sept 28-30 Baltimore, Maryland    Baltimore Book Festival  (Big time authors and Baltimore natives flock to this festival. I’m looking forward to Newbery winner Laura Amy Schlitz and her new book Splendors and Glooms)

Sept 28-30 Deadwood, South Dakota South Dakota Festival of Books  (How can you miss with a festival in Deadwood?)

September 30 West Hollywood, California West Hollywood Book Fair  (Hollywood Chic! More YA than middle grade but it’s still fun for kids)


October 1-6 San Diego California San Diego City College International Book Fair  (appears there’s not a lot of programming for kids although Matt de la Pena will be speaking)

October 12-14 Brattleboro, Vermont  Brattleboro Book Festival  (Many of my favorite authors and illustrators come to this intimate and exciting festival. This year I’m looking forward to Tony DiTerlizzi, Jane Yolen and Karen Hesse)

October 13-14 Charleston, WV West Virginia Book Festival (great fun  Robert Sabuda will show off his pop up books this year!)

October 14-16 Nashville, Tennessee Southern Festival of Books  (I’ll be at this one! Hope to see you there!)

October 20 Cincinnati, Ohio Books By The Banks (I’ll be here, too!  If you don’t catch up with me in Nashville meet me here!)

October 27-28 Austin, Texas Texas Book Festival  (This book festival is renowned! The events are always amazing!)

October 27 Dallas Texas International Book Festival  (A smaller festival but great events)


Nov 9-10 Frankfort, Kentucky Kentucky Book Fair (A mix of children’s and adult authors, many with Kentucky connections)

Nov 11 Miami, Florida  Miami Book Fair (Fun in the sun! Each year a different country is featured, incorporating fabulous children’s events)

I know I’ve missed some. If there’s a fun festival or fair in your community leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list!


Tami Lewis Brown will be dusting off her presentation skills this fall for book festivals in Cincinnati and Nashville!