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Bookends

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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

Archive for the 'Biographies' Category

Mon, April 28th, 2014
The Scraps Book: Notes From a Colorful Life by Lois Ehlert
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Books that encourage creativity are always a favorite of mine and I’ve been a fan of Lois Ehlert since I read Planting a Rainbow again and again when my children were little. My father used to pass the winter months planning his garden and looking at seed catalogs and I spend mine looking at […]


Mon, March 24th, 2014
How the Beatles Changed the World by Martin W. Sandler
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Yesterday…I thought I knew a lot about the Beatles, but I should have known better. How the Beatles Changed the World (Walker 2014) is an attractive, colorful chronicle of the many ways in which Beatlemania had more influence than just making young women scream. Sandler chooses to organize the book topically (and loosely chronologically) starting […]


Mon, March 17th, 2014
Josephine by Patricia Hruby Powell
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Picture book biographies are all the rage in the publishing world and Josephine (Chronicle 2014) is one that our middle school book club members are passing around with enthusiasm. They have no idea who Josephine Baker was but after they read this we’ve dug out some longer biographies and they’ve enjoyed seeing photographs of […]


Tue, January 14th, 2014
The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Vasily Kandinsky was a proper Russian boy.  “He studied bookfuls of math, science and history.”  The opening illustrations of The Noisy Paint Box:  the Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art (Random/Knopf Feb. 2014) are grey and square, reflecting the routines of Kandinsky’s privileged but boring childhood.  One day, Vasya’s aunt gave him a […]


Mon, November 11th, 2013
When the Beat Was Born by Laban Carrick Hill
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: I have a 7th grade teacher talked into collaborating with me on a picture book biography unit this year. When the Beat Was Born: D.J. Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop (Roaring Brook 2013) will be a highly popular inclusion despite the the book’s younger target audience. Kool Herc was a Jamaican […]


Mon, June 17th, 2013
Relish by Lucy Knisley
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: I’ve just finished a major kitchen remodel project and it seems that during this time my literary tastes leaned toward books that featured FOOD. I was eating lots of salads and crock pot meals in real life, but in my book world, I was a gourmand. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen (First Second […]


Mon, June 3rd, 2013
Batter Up!
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Batter Up!  Baseball season is underway and to add to the fun for young fans, we have two wonderful new picture books.  Leading off is You Never Heard of Willie Mays?! (Random/Schwartz & Wade 2013) by Jonah Winter.  This is a book in motion from the dynamic cover to the exuberant text that seems […]


Mon, May 13th, 2013
Diego Rivera by Susan Goldman Rubin
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  The lives of artists are often a challenge to write about for children and none more so than Diego Rivera.  Controversial in almost all aspects of  his life, Diego Rivera was also a towering figure in the art world (and in stature) and his work remains incredibly powerful today. Susan Goldman Rubin’s new book, […]


Mon, May 6th, 2013
Celebrating Curiosity
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Cindy: Some books grow on you in surprising ways. I read On a Beam of Light (Chronicle 2013), liked it, and set it aside to take to school to show my 6th grade science teachers but I wasn’t planning to write a blog post about it. But overnight its messages haunted me.  One of my […]


Mon, February 11th, 2013
Queen of the Track by Heather Lang
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

Lynn:  Cindy and I really are reading the new 2013 titles but in true Bookends style we can’t bear to give up on some wonderful books from 2012 that we haven’t managed to wedge into our writing schedule.  So many good books!  Queen of the Track:  Alice Coachman Olympic High Jump Champion (Boyds Mills 2012) […]





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