Posted by: nancypartridge | May 30, 2015

Coming Soon: Brian Selznick’s The Marvels

I always appreciate Monica’s thoughtful and heartfelt entries….having recently studied Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I can fully imagine the beauty of his upcoming book. If you like magic, time travel, history, art, books, children….we can all look forward to this, together!

educating alice


Brian Selznick is one of the great artists of our time. In what is now a trilogy (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck, and now The Marvels) he has created a unique storytelling style, one that blends illustration and text in an engrossingly original way. It is an aesthetic and emotive experience not like that of a graphic novel, but one closer to a cinematic viewing experience or a theatrical one; the three books are rich with scenes of powerful beauty created with paper, page turns, close-ups, and more. Upon completing The Marvels, I sat still, feeling as I did after a remarkable theatrical experience, say a dramatic opera, a visually stunning film, or a striking play, in awe of what I’d just experienced. Hours later it lingers with me, a gorgeous work of art.

The Marvels begins in the 18th century with images, hundreds of pages of them relating a mysterious story of a theatrical family over several generations. Ships and theaters…

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It’s great to share titles of diverse cultures! Here are just a few..

the open book

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been a lot of talk lately about the need for more diversity in books. We already know that the population of the United States is rapidly changing, and people have been demanding books that reflect this. From the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign to this recent article from School Library Journal, the demand for diverse titles grows louder every day. One category we often get asked about is recommendations of books featuring Middle Eastern and Muslim characters, so we thought we’d put together a list of some favorites:

coming to america

  1. The Butter Man, by Elizabeth & Ali Alalou, ill. by Julie Klear Essakalli: As young Nora waits impatiently for her mother to come home from work and for her father to serve the long-simmering couscous that smells so delicious, her father tells her about his childhood in Morocco.
  2. Coming to America: A Muslim Family’s Story, by Bernard Wolf: With…

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Posted by: nancypartridge | January 26, 2014

Celebrate MultiCultural Books Day! January 27 2014


Fellow bloggers Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom want to raise awareness for kid’s books that celebrate diversity!  In order to jumpstart this effort, January 27, 2014 has been designated Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Did you know:  despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content.  Using Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries.

On Monday, 67 bloggers will be highlighting children’s books that celebrate diversity.  This will be a great reading list for the winter and a wonderful way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers and libraries. For more information please check out the Multicultural Children’s Book Day website by clicking this link!

I am joining in the fun by reviewing:


by Alexis York Lumbard
illustrated by Flavia Weedn

A big thank you to Wisdom Tales for donating a copy of this darling picture book for me to review.  It is filled with quiet magic, the kind that sends a child off to sleep like a prayer.  Purely nondenominational, the gentle rhyming text describes all different kinds of angels.  Big or tiny, they fly by day and by night, helping flowers to grow and snowflakes to fall.  There are lovely angels who heal, and sing, and, of course, watch over everything.  Alexis York Lumbard, an author who writes that she “is interested in the wisdom and beauty of the world’s religions,” has truly captured something of the purely spiritual in this book.

Award-winning artist Flavia Weedn has illustrated the text with richly-colored paintings that radiate warmth and whimsy.  She captures flights of imagination in her artwork, with a simplicity and loveliness that children will be drawn to read again and again.

Whether as a bed-time story, or a circle-time read aloud, Angels will surely please children ages 2-7, and may help to inspire some discussion about things spiritual and divine.

Please check out these blogs – all are celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day with reviews of books celebrating diversity!

2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s Books– Kid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil

Enter to win a full set of all Wisdom Tales books! Act now, time is running out:


Thank you to MCCBD Sponsors:

Wisdom Tales Press

Lee & Low Books

Chronicle Books

Susan Daniel Fayad author of My Grandfather’s Masbaha

Posted by: nancypartridge | April 6, 2013

Construction of the Child

The construct of the child…hmm, sounds a bit like working with legos..what does this mean, exactly?  People interested in children’s literature are often concerned not only with book-as-literature, but book-as-barometer, a social barometer, of how we view childhood.  The quest for understanding the construction of childhood appears to be at the root of things, children’s lit-wise.  This seems so dry, so far removed from actual living breathing adorable children, and yet — it is not.  Consider.

It goes back, way back, to people like William Godwin (do most people know about him?) and Mary Wollstonecraft (better known – that infamous drafter of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.  Note: if you haven’t looked at that at least once, you really should.  Kept me up nights, shivering).  Did you know they were married?  Did you know their daughter is Mary Shelley?  Little known fact: 14-year-old Mary met Percy Shelley at her father’s publishing house/bookshop!  That’s when they ran away together, went off on vacation with Lord Byron, and Frankenstein was born….but I digress.  The point is, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft were very much interested in children’s literature, and the construction of childhood.  (Ok – it goes back even farther, back to the Purtians and Jonathan Swift and saving babies souls.  But I’ll talk about that another time).  There was a raging debate at various points about the appropriateness of imagination for children – in fact fairy tales were a big no-no, for a while.  Then came the 1800’s, and then the Victorian age…and the idea of the romantic child.  Ah.  Here we come to the rub, for me.  This debate is, by the way, still going on: the one where we ask ourselves, are children innocent creatures, meant to be protected and sheltered from life until they are ready for it?  Or – are they smart enough to handle real life straight on?  Charles Dickens had numerous child characters, many of whom did not exactly match the concept of the “ideal” child (innocent, sweet, perfect, sheltered, etc.)  E. Nesbit’s kids can be pretty naughty.   And these days, it seems we want to give kids the real raw deal from pretty much day one.

Right?  Wrong?  I don’t know.  I’m just getting into all this, but I feel it’s such explosive stuff that I simply have to write about it sometimes.  So, if you’re at all interested:  stay tuned.Image

Posted by: nancypartridge | May 2, 2012

Kingfisher Readers

Kingfisher Readers look good – award winning nonfiction authors, and based on expertise in early literacy.  There are 5 levels, from beginning to fluent readers.

Kingfisher Readers.

Posted by: nancypartridge | April 29, 2012

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany

This is exciting news: a treasure house of 500 new fairy tales have been discovered!  It’s hard to imagine.  The fairy tales we all know  and love are so much a part of us. Who will we meet in these new stories, and what will they teach us?  I can’t wait….

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany | Books |

       What new dreams will our children dream?

Posted by: nancypartridge | April 28, 2012

Are Teens Embracing E-books?

Check out this interesting article from Publisher’s Weekly about teens and e-books.  Of course e-books are creating a swirl of controversy these days, what with Department of Justice rulings about the e-book trade (more to come on that) the challenges posed to libraries, etc.  I was recently assured by a published author that the majority of e-books are read by 40-somethings and older.  Publishers are coming out with toddler apps to teach reading on all kinds of personal devices…but do kids actually read e-books?  I know two-year-olds who can scroll through their parent’s cell phones to watch Dora the Explorer, but…

Are Teens Embracing E-books?.

Posted by: nancypartridge | April 28, 2012

Welcome to Rapunzel Dreams

Welcome to Rapunzel Dreams, a blog about children and their books.  There is so much I want to share…book reviews of everything from picture books to YA novels, news from the children’s publishing industry, musings on current issues and conversations going on in the arena of childhood, and the deeper aspects of children’s literature.   I am hopelessly addicted to fairy tales and their  illustrations over the centuries, and promise to share whatever I stumble upon, with you.  I hope this blog will be an inspiring place to hang out.  Come by often and sit a spell!



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