Friday, September 28, 2012

Did you ever wonder what happened to the parents of The Boxcar Children?

The Boxcar Children Beginning:  The Aldens of Fair Meadow Farm
by Patricia MacLachlan

Before they were the Boxcar Children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden lived with their parents at Fair Meadow Farm. Although times are hard, they're happy--"the best family of all," Mama likes to say. One day, a blizzard hits the countryside, and a car is stranded on the road near their farm. The family in the car needs shelter, and when the Aldens take them in, the strangers soon become friends. But things never stay the same at Fair Meadow Farm, and the spring and summer bring events that will forever change the lives of the Alden children. Newbery-Award winning author Patricia MacLachlan pays loving tribute to the classic novel by Gertrude Chandler Warner in this story of the Alden children's origins and the challenges they faced before their boxcar adventures.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's in Your Crock Pot?

I left Cowboy Chicken simmering in my crock pot this morning.  We'll have it over brown rice with some green beans and grape/banana salad for supper tonight.

Take a look at this new slow cooker cookbook we've just gotten in:

The Mexican Slow Cooker: Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork, and More Favorites by Deborah Schneider

A collection of 55 fix it and forget it recipes for Mexican favorites from an award-winning Mexican cooking authority, in a stylish, engaging package.

When acclaimed chef and cookbook author Deborah Schneider discovered that using her trusty slow cooker to make authentic Mexican recipes actually enhanced their flavor while dramatically reducing active cooking time, it was a revelation. Packed with Schneider's favorite south-of-the-border recipes such as Tortilla Soup, Zesty Shredded Beef (Barbacoa), famed Mole Negro, the best tamales she has ever made, and more, "The Mexican Slow Cooker "delivers sophisticated meals and complex flavors, all with the ease and convenience that have made slow cookers enormously popular.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eng transports the reader to a world that few people know about

The Garden of Evening Mists - Tan Twan Eng

Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister, who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice "until the monsoon comes." Then she can design a garden for herself.

As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the "Garden of Evening Mists" remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bear Has a Story to Tell!

Do you ever want to share a story but can't remember how it goes? 

Bear's friends Mouse, Duck, Frog and Mole were so busy preparing for the upcoming winter that they didn't have time to listen to Bear's story.  Bear patiently waited, but he just got sleepier . . .and sleepier. . . . and sleepier.  Next thing you know, it's springtime!  When the friends gather together after their long time apart, poor Bear can't remember the story he wanted to share!   His friends help him out because, after all, that's what friends are for!

Bear Has a Story to Tell by Erin E. Stead

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sherman Carmichael promotes his new book Legends and Lore of South Carolina

Sherman Carmichael has been traveling throughout the state to promote his new book Legends and Lore of South Carolina that was released at the end of July.  I spoke to Sherman by phone a few weeks ago, but we weren't able to coordinate a date that would bring him to Hartsville.

Carmichael, born in Hemingway and now a Johnsonville resident, spent 30 years as a photographer and 23 years in law enforcement.  He researches and writes about legends, folklore and the unexplained in South Carolina. He is also the author of Forgotten Tales of South Carolina.

This new collection of 80 strange and unusual South Carolina legends is rooted in the state’s deep history. Certain places hold secrets from different eras, including White Wolf Road in Blacksburg and the state’s numerous historic cemeteries, like the one at Salem Black River Church in Mayesville. These pages also contain simple explanations for local lore, like the Gullah tradition behind blue bottle trees that still decorate Carolina gardens today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Map as Art - now available in paperback

The Map as Art by Katharine Harmon and Gayle Clemans

As seen in O: The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times Book Review, USA Today, Cool Hunting, and countless other media outlets, The Map as Art is available now in a paperback edition. This volume by Katharine Harmon, author of the best-selling book You Are Here, extends that book's celebration of mapmaking to the world of artists' maps.It is little surprise that in an era of globalized politics, culture, and ecology contemporary artists are drawn to maps to express their visions. Using paint, salt, souvenir tea towels, or their own bodies, map artists explore a world free of geographical constraints. In The Map as Art, Harmon collects 360 colorful, map-related artistic visions by well-known artists--such as Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel, Olafur Eliasson, William Kentridge, and Vik Muniz--and many more less-familiar artists for whom maps are the inspiration for creating art. Essays by Gayle Clemans bring an in-depth look into the artists' maps of Joyce Kozloff, Landon Mackenzie, Ingrid Calame, Guillermo Kuitca, and Maya Lin. Together, the beautiful reproductions and telling commentary make this an essential volume for anyone open to exploring new paths.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Richard Paul Evans has written a sci fi series for teens

After reading The Christmas Box it's hard to imagine Richard Paul Evans writing a sci fi series for teens, but Michael Vey is his star, and Evans has quite a pre-teen/teen following!

Book #1, The Prisoner of Cell 25, came out last August, and Book #2, Rise of the Elgen, came out a few weeks ago.

Michael must save his mother--and protect his powers--in the electric sequel to the #1 New York Times bestselling Michael Vey:  The Prisoner of Cell 25, from Richard Paul Evans.

"I rolled over to my back, struggling for breath. The pain continued to pulse through my body--a heavy throb followed by a sharp, crisp sting." The man said, "Trust me, there are worse things in this world than Cell 25."  Michael, Taylor, Ostin, and the rest of the Electroclan have escaped from the Elgen Academy in Pasadena and are headed back to Idaho to plan their next move. But what's waiting for them there will change everything.  After using their wits and powers to narrowly escape an Elgen trap, a mysterious voice leads the Electroclan to the jungles of Peru in search of Michael's mother. Once there, they discover that Dr. Hatch and the Elgen are far more powerful than anyone realizes; entire countries have begun to fall under their control. Only the Electroclan and an anonymous voice now stand in the way of the Elgen's plan for global domination.  But is the voice that Michael is following really an ally, or is it just another Elgen trap?

Friday, September 14, 2012

A teenage boy becomes a spy in Nazi-occupied Norway

Shadow on the Mountain - Margi Preus

Shadow on the Mountain recounts the adventures of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen during World War II. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. Espen gets his start by delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains--and loses--friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to Sweden.

Preus incorporates archival photographs, maps, and other images to tell this story based on the real-life adventures of Norwegian Erling Storrusten, whom Preus interviewed in Norway.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How to Speak Southern

How to Speak Southern  by Steve Mitchell

I don't know about you, but we already know how to speak southern pretty darn well.  However, we get a kick out of glancing through this book every now and then and having a little chuckle.

For example:
Dinner - Dinner is the meal Southerners eat while Northerners are eating lunch.  When the Northerners are eating dinner, Southerners are eating supper.  "We're just havin' butterbeans and biscuits for dinner, but we'll have a big supper."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Children's Book about Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan

Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson

I was excited to see this new children's book about the relationship between Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, and I ordered it right away, knowing some young child would be just as fascinated by Helen Keller as I was.  As a young child the Braille alphabet was intriguing to me, and I tried to learn the letters and use them to write notes and stories.  I couldn't believe Helen would read so much that her fingertips would bleed.  And how persistent Annie Sullivan had to have been to win over the frightened, unruly child who had never been able to relate to her family or the world around her.  We've just gotten in this new book and it's featured on our special Book Page display that offers different levels of Burry gift cards when you make a purchase from this section.

Here is some information about the new book:

Author Deborah Hopkinson and illustrator Raul Colon present the story of Helen Keller in a fresh and original way that is perfect for young children. Focusing on the relationship between Helen and her teacher, Annie Sullivan, the book is interspersed with excerpts of Annie's letters home, written as she struggled with her angry, wild pupil. But slowly, with devotion and determination, Annie teaches Helen finger spelling and braille, letters, and sentences. As Helen comes to understand language and starts to communicate, she connects for the first time with her family and the world around her. The lyrical text and exquisite art will make this fascinating story a favorite with young readers. Children will also enjoy learning the Braille alphabet, which is embossed on the back cover of the jacket.