Category Archives: Children’s Non-Fiction

On World Autism Awareness Day: Temple Grandin by Sy Montgomery

Temple Grandin has always been different. From her infancy her parents knew she was a child unlike any other, her father believed her to be mentally deficient but her mother knew that somewhere under Temple’s erratic and odd behaviors, was a child filled with curiosity, talent and love.  Temple developed behind other children and did not speak until the age of five but once she did she showed a personality and wit that stood out among the crowd of typical children. Still she often found comfort in twirling for hours on end and her senses were often extremely sensitive to touch, sound and light. However Temple’s mother knew Temple was different but not less. The name eventually given to Temple’s condition was autism.

Autism caused Temple to struggle through elementary and middle school and she was at times subject to bullying but as she got older she learned to make her way in the world. While navigating through society Temple found that not only did she have amazing talents but she also could do things no one else was capable of. She found that at times autism was a gift that allowed her to think in ways others could not. You see Temple thought in pictures instead of words and this allowed her to visualize things in a very special way.

For instance Temple had the ability to think the way an animal could since she was so attuned to their senses and behavior. She especially loved and felt a kinship with cows. This ability led to her career in animal husbandry and her deep love of cattle turned into a talent unlike any other. Today Temple Grandin is one of the most prominent figures in the meat packing industry where she designs humane treatment systems for all types of livestock. At this time in history Temple has done more for creating humane conditions for “food animals” than any other living human being.

Today through her role as an ambassador for the humane treatment of livestock and her role as an advocate for those with autism, Temple provides a dual voice to those who might not otherwise have one. She is also renown for her ability to explain how autism feels and the differences in her brain and those of most other people.

Within this new biography children are given a very personal account of Temple and her life. Pictures, drawings and other media only bring readers further into Temple’s world.

Additionally the book chooses to address both children with and without autism making it inclusive and educational at the same time. While showing the challenges that Temple faced readers can actually see the aspects of autism that can have a negative affect on an individual on the autism spectrum. However at the same time the reader is also shown those special abilities that can make an autistic individual exceptional.

Sy Montgomery also does a spectacular job of writing for the middle grade age group. At one point even making a Harry Potter reference by which to explain an individual like Temple living with autism. While Harry’s abilities might have been a bit scary among muggles but once he was accepted into Hogwart’s and given a chance to be a part of things; he blossomed. As would children with autism if they were accepted and treated as equals by other children.

In the end the message is one of acceptance and inclusion for all using autism awareness and education as the vehicle by which to make it happen. Bravo!

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World will be released on April 3, 2012. You can also visit Temple at her website.

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Filed under Autism, Children's Non-Fiction, Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Parenthood Picks

Happy Earth Day from Stiletto Storytime

Happy Earth Day 2011 from Stiletto Storytime

And what better way to celebrate than to feature a great new children’s book about respecting, preserving and re-using the Earth and all it gives us. Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth is the perfect book to help educate young readers while also celebrating Earth Day! Taking on an alphabetical format- the book shows children how to create compost including instructing them on what can be added and what cannot. Need something to do with your laundry lint? Compost Stew can help. Adults and children alike will learn things they didn’t know about the world of compost.

Complimenting the book are illustrations by Ashley Wolff. The illustrations are done in an organic pallet and combine odd recyclable items such as newspaper, magazine pictures and sea shells in collage form. The ABC format of the book also makes it accessible for a variety of ages in both read-a-loud and independent reading form. This book would be a wonderful addition to any Earth Day celebration, conservation curriculum or at home project. A great addition to any young conservationist library!

Book Giveaway

To help celebrate Earth Day author Mary McKenna Siddals is giving away 5 copies of the picture book COMPOST STEW and 2 art prints from the book, autographed by illustrator Ashley Wolff. To enter go here. (Giveaway ends of April 25, 2011)


Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Children's Picture Books, New Books, Reading Fun

Review & Giveaway: Other Goose by J. Otto Seibold

The classics are just that…classics. However some of the most fun I’ve had in picture books has been when classics are reborn and re-imagined…one of my personal favorites is The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. In that category we can now add Other Goose by J. Otto Seibold, a collection of “re-nurseried” rhymes for a new generation. Since it’s from J. Otto Seibold…you know it’s gonna be a great read. If you have not read Olive, The Other Reindeer then now is the perfect time of year. And since it’s from Chronicle Books…you know it’s going to be unique and detail oriented. Their packaging is simply fantastic and their attention to every detail in their covers is hard to beat.

While these humorous rhymes are skewed for the slightly older child than traditional Mother Goose, the rhyming and humor will keep the kids interested and bring back memories of the original inspiration. With great new funky rhymes such as “Blah Blah Black Sheep” and “Little Asleep Bo-Peep”, parents and kids will be laughing along with every turn of the page. Modern, dramatic illustrations complete this new look at Mother Goose for today’s kids. The bold images contain lots of details and hidden humor to keep kids looking more than once. It’s sure to be a hit with both girls and boys and even has a little of that special “boy” humor we all know they enjoy. So who would you share this book with?

Want a sneak peek at Other Goose? How about your own copy for that special child this Holiday season? Chronicle Books will give one lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime their own copy and a great matching poster.  Simply comment below with your email address and share your favorite traditional rhyme (Mother Goose or Other). US and Canada addresses only please. Giveaway ends midnight December 6th, 2010.

And if you like Other Goose make sure to add a uniquely inspired set of “Old Maid” cards in those stockings this year!


Filed under Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Children's Picture Books

Review & Giveaway: The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition Two distinct things popped into my mind after reading The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition by David Borgenicht, Nathaniel Marunas &Robin Epstein.

#1: What a great book for a reluctant boy reader in the age range of 8-12.

#2 This is a book that may not make me very popular among the parent(s) of that 8-12 year old reluctant reader.

The book is everything the title claims..and most of all gross. I understand some people may have objections…do we really need to know all the alternative names for poop or have boogers, gas and burps classified? Well…maybe not. But that does not mean that it may be extremely fascinating to young boys the world over and may be the ticket to getting them to pick up a book! The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition also has another great thing going for it…it’s full of facts! Sure the facts may be gross but they are facts nonetheless which is another hit for that 8-12 year age group. Think the “Guinness World Book” stage that a lot of kids go through. I went through one myself and adore random facts to this day. I am a librarian. This book will satisfy that random fact urge on the grossest of levels, my husband was a fast fan (the male gender appeal seems to extend far beyond the target age group).  You can learn everything from the real truth about warts to the largest hairball ever removed from a human. That’s right, I said human not cat. Told you it was gross. It’s all you would come to expect from the great Worst Case Scenario series only gross and junior sized!

And thanks to the generous publisher Chronicle Books, one lucky Stiletto Storytime reader will get to be grossed out as well with their own copy of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Gross Junior Edition. Read it yourself and share it with the boys in your life (both young and old)…they are sure to love it! Contest ends October 7th at midnight EST. Winner will be chosen randomly and notified by e-mail. To enter simply leave a comment with your e-mail address telling me who in your life would LOVE this book.

Also make check out the other stops on this books great Blog Tour:


Filed under Blog Tour, Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Middle Grade, New Books

Review: All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome

In celebration of April being Autism Awareness Month and as part of my Autism Awareness Challenge, I have just finished All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Hoopmann.  I had seen this book many times before in passing at the library in shelving or even referring a patron to a book about Autism or Aspergers geared towards children. However I had never really sat down and read it. The book is pages of very simple statements about Aspergers matched with vibrant, funny and sometimes tear jerking pictures of cats and kittens. It is stunning in it’s simplicity but oh so poignant in it’s message. It is a link to connect children with and without Aspergers to the disease by information given in a form they can relate to. It explains Aspergers in a way a child could understand using cats as  examples. Many of the trademark symptoms of Asperger Syndrome are displayed by cats such as liking to be near someone they love but not held or having exceptionally good hearing. This book is such a jewel. The perfect book to help other children understand what a classmate may be going through or a tool to help a child with Autism understand their own world. I was happy to see one Mom blog about her experience reading it to her Autistic son. Bravo Kathy Hoopmann….your book made a difference in a child’s life. Isn’t that the most wonderful feeling of all…what it’s all really about.

My favorite line of the book among many was: “Sure, he may need help following fashionable trends, but don’t forget everyone is different in his own way and there is a little bit of Asperger in us all.”

As the cowardly lion would say “Ain’t it the truth? Ain’t it the truth?””


Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Children's Picture Books, Non-Fiction

Horn Book Newsletter


 For those of you that enjoy getting emails about children’s and young adult literature check out The Hornbook’s New Monthly Newsletter! Notes from the Horn Book is an easy to digest monthly publication on the top news from Horn Book. You can sign up to have it delivered directly to your email each month! I checked it out and really loved the format…it was informative but not overwhelming. While I already feel like I am drowning in emails between those from publishers and author sites…this one fit the bill as something that I would both enjoy reading and gain knowledge from on a monthly basis. I am a subscriber to Horn Book and I love reading it bi-monthly but I’m so busy I feel most of the time that I have to rush through or it takes me an entire two months to read it in the first place! But….such  is life! Enjoy your day and remember to READ!

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Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction, Children's Picture Books, Literature Resources, Young Adult Books

Don’t Bump the Glump!



They have reissued Don’t Bump the Glump by Shel Silverstein and I must say I love the format! It’s very neat and clean. The white background really let’s the art and poems speak. Originally published in 1964 (the same year as The Giving Tree) this was Silverstein’s first poetry collection and the only full colored illustrations he did for a work. Kids and adults will love the silly names of the fantastical creatures and their stories. A must read and now with a new copy out! My favorite poem and illustration is The Gursdee. So….

Don’t Bump the Glump! And beware the Gheli, Slithergadee and the Bibley not to mention the the terrible Feezus! All of these creatures live inside Shel Silverstein’s first poetry collection just waiting for you to take a peek. Filled with poems about fantastic creatures who do wonderful and sometimes scary things. This book is one you will not want to put down. Besides if you do you might find a Gursdee after you!


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Filed under Children's Literature, Children's Non-Fiction