Monthly Archives: May 2012

Independent Bookstores: Santa Cruz

Logos Books and Records

1117 Pacific Ave.

This fairly large shop has lots of inexpensive books, CD’s, DVDs, and an ecletic bunch of old LP’s. You can spend hours browsing the shelves and bins in here. I picked up a Coldplay CD,  an old 1960’s comedy LP of The First Family, and an incredibly rare collection of naughty recordings . It’s like searching through your really cool Grandma’s attic.

Literary Guillotine

204 Locust St

This popular used book store is for both UC Santa Cruz students and for the amateur reader of novels and literary theory. It also features a smaller collection of other subjects. Visually it resembles the secret book collection found in the film Fahrenheit 451. Books are shelved floor to ceiling and wall to wall, and sometimes just in piles in multiple corners of this literary wonderland.

They also run an independent press to promote more eclectic work: Literary Guillotine, Ink

Book Shop Santa Cruz

1520 Pacific Ave

Rebuilt after the devastating earthquake of 1989, this well stocked bookshop offers book signings and a wide variety of new books, as well as a small selection of used books. It’s also an excellent source for international and national newspapers.

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Book Festival: Hay on Wye 2012

This year the Telegraph Hay Festival (Hay-on-Wye, Wales) will take place from May 31 – June 10.

One of the highlights is the chance to view some personal memorabilia of Lucinda Dickens Hawksley whose great-great-great-grandfather was Charles Dickens.

For more info about the author and her works:

For more info about programmes and tickets:

There’s also a separate event for families and children called Hay Fever that “runs across the ten days of the festival where children have the chance to meet and talk to their favourite writers and take part in workshops to create wonderful memories and develop new skills in imaginative thinking and self expression.”

For more information go to: Hay Fever

The Hay Festival also features films from around the world: Film Festival

and the always popular comedy programme

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Children’s Book Review: First the Egg

Seeger, Laura Vaccaro. First the Egg. New Milford, CT: Roaring Brook Press, 2007. 32 pages.  ISBN-13: 978-1596432727

What’s the story?

This book presents the concepts of how first there is an egg and that egg becomes a chicken. Then the story depicts other “firsts” that occur in nature: first tadpole, then frog; first seed, then flower, etc. Then a different process emerges: first there is a word and then there is a story and then there is an artist who paints the story and a writer who tells the story which leads back to the egg which is now the second part because first there is a chicken and then there is an egg.


This winner of the 2008 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor and the 2008 Caldecott Honor has a fairly simple story that begins with a particular of which came first the chicken or the egg? There are a variety of cut-outs that by turning the page reveals a connection. The egg leads to a picture of a chick; a tadpole cut-out leads to a frog, and other progressions within nature are depicted. The illustrations are a rich palette of colors that appear to be painted on canvas. The most ingenious aspect of the story comes near the end when the reader discovers the story they are currently reading is part of the story they are reading. Children may be too young to appreciate this clever bit of metafiction, but it may plant the seed in their minds about the complexities of writing stories as well as reading them. An illustration at the end of the story incorporates the animals and objects mentioned before. Seeger proves herself to be a masterful artist and storyteller using the picture book form. Just when the reader thinks the book verifies that the egg came first, the story ends with the chicken laying the egg.

Other Awards and Recognition

New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007
New York Times Best Seller
Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of 2007
Oppenheim Platinum Award, 2008
ALA Notable Book, 2008
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Children’s Book Review: Blackbird (Coretta Scott King Award 2004)

Bryan, Ashley. Beautiful Blackbird. Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0-689-84731-8


 What’s the story?

This is the story of Blackbird who was voted as the most beautiful bird in the forest and the envious birds who want to be black, too.

Book Review

This winner of the Coretta Scott King award for 2004 is an adaptation of a folktale from Zambia. Blackbird is considered the most beautiful, so all of the other birds who are in different colors want to be black too. They ask if Blackbird can make them black, but Blackbird tells them that what counts is how they are inside. Blackbird mixes up a batch of blackening and gives everyone marks or designs in black. This book is a celebration of the beauty of the color black. The captivating illustrations resemble shapes cut from colored paper placed together in a collage. The book has the positive message that beauty comes from pride and confidence.

Categories: Book Reviews, Children's Books, Summer Reading | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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