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We Wish You a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year and We’ll See You in January!

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As you are getting ready for the holidays, so are we. We’ve posted our Best Books of the Year Lists, have reviewed and given away piles of Christmas books, and now it’s time for a break here at Smart Books for Smart Kids. We thank you for your loyalty and look forward to a new season of books, reviews and interviews!

Looking for Christmas books for kids? Click here

Looking for the Best Books of the Year? Check these out:

Read my List of the 10 Best Biographies for Children 2014

Read my List of the 20 Best Science Books for Children 2014

Read my List of the Five Most Wonderfully Unique Children’s Books 2014

 Read my List of the 15 Best Picture Books 2014

Read My List of the Seven Best History/Politics Books for Children

March Out to Change the World: Interview with “Factual” Author Russell Freedman

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Image 1In November I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America – one of the best written non-fiction children’s books I’ve ever read. It is the story of the infamous 1965 voting marches from Selma to Montgomery, AL led by Martin Luther King, Jr. Veteran children’s book author Russell Freedman not only knows how to hook readers, but he writes in such a way that they feel as though they are right there in the action. His talent to speak to a younger audience about a very sophisticated subject in such an understandable and fascinating way left me eager to ask him some questions about his outstanding work.

What inspired you to transition from a journalist to a children’s book author?

Some authors may know from the beginning that they want to write for children, but I’ve found that many of us come to this field after serving a writing apprenticeship elsewhere—after a period of experimentation and practice. You have to find your voice.

” I hadn’t expected to become a writer of factual books for young readers, but there I was. I had wandered into the field by chance, and I felt right at home. I couldn’t wait to get started on my next book. I had found my calling, and I never looked back.”

As a young man, I worked as an editor and reporter at the Associated Press. One morning I read a newspaper story about a sixteen-year-old boy who was blind. He had invented a Braille typewriter. That seemed remarkable, but as I read on I learned that another sixteen-year-old boy who was blind—Louis Braille—invented the Braille system itself as used today all over the world. That New York Times story inspired my first book, a collection of short biographies entitled Teenagers Who Made History, published in 1961 by Holiday House. The book received a starred review from School Library Journal and stayed in print for many years.

I hadn’t expected to become a writer of factual books for young readers, but there I was. I had wandered into the field by chance, and I felt right at home. I couldn’t wait to get started on my next book. I had found my calling, and I never looked back.

You certainly did indeed find your calling! I’ve read that you prefer being referred to as a “factual” author rather than a non-fiction author. Can you explain why?

Nonfiction is a negative term. It tells what a book is not. I prefer more informative and inviting terms such as history, biography, memoir, science, or even, factual.

I’ve often thought about how that term is so negative too. You are equally known for the photographs in your books as you are for your writing. What is the process you go through to obtain such outstanding images for your books?

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Images are an essential part of my books. I do my own picture research, select the images I want to include, and present them as a package to my editor and book designer, with whom I work closely. Each image is keyed to a specific section of the text. Ideally, that image should appear on the same double-page spread as its textual reference, so the reader’s eyes can move back and forth between the words and images. I also write the captions for those images.

Correlating the text to the images is a really important detail that is so often overlooked, and I suppose it takes a great deal of time to find and choose the right photos for the text.

Not long ago, picture research meant traveling to libraries, museums, and historical societies all over the country, putting your white-gloved hands in the files as you examined fading photographs and fragile transparencies. I often spent days at a time in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room of the Library of Congress, which later became one of the first institutions to digitize its picture collection. Today, most major collections are substantially digitized, and a researcher can access and order reproduction images from sources all over the world without leaving the computer.

For Because They Marched, I looked at hundreds of images on the websites of the Library of Congress, the Associated Press, and various photo agencies. My guiding principle, as always, was that the photos should reveal something that the text cannot express, while the text should say something that isn’t evident in the photos.

“I follow the rule I learned at the Associated Press: have at least three sources for each assertion. When I encounter different versions of the same event, or a lack of evidence, I suggest as much in my text.”

How do you handle the conflicting factual information you find to ensure your facts are accurate when writing a book?

I follow the rule I learned at the Associated Press: have at least three sources for each assertion. When I encounter different versions of the same event, or a lack of evidence, I suggest as much in my text. In Because They Marched, for example, why did the streetlights suddenly go out during the demonstration in Marion, Alabama, at which Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot, and what happened next? I wrote: “At that point, the street lights were either turned off or perhaps shot out. Troopers waded into the crowd, swinging their nightsticks as people trying to get away screamed and stumbled over one another. A crowd of white vigilantes attacked the reporters and smashed their cameras. No photographic record of the night survives.”

When I was writing my biography of Abraham Lincoln I came across the following anecdote: In 1862, while Lincoln was president, Image 2his 11-year-old son Willie died of a fever. Willie was the second son to be taken from the Lincolns. Mary was overcome by grief, and the president plunged into the deepest gloom he had ever known. Again and again, he shut himself in his room to weep alone. He was heard to say about Willie, “He was too good for this earth. It is hard, hard to have him die.”

© Copyright – Image courtesy of Russell Freedman

Lincoln_PhotobiographyNow all of that is in my book. In early drafts, I had also written that Lincoln twice had his son’s body exhumed, so he could gaze on Willie’s face again. I felt that the harrowing image of the grieving president looking into his son’s coffin was a powerful and unforgettable representation of Lincoln’s profound sorrow. And I thought it said something about Lincoln that could be expressed only by example.

And yet something about the story made me uneasy. My only source was a single biography published during the 1930s, and I felt I needed at least one additional source, and preferably more, for confirmation. When I couldn’t find one, I decided to drop the incident from my book. But the image still haunts me and I still wonder if it’s true.

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© Copyright – Image courtesy of Russell Freedman

The way you conveyed details of specific events in Because They Marched made me, as a reader, feel as though I were right there in the action. Is this something you set out to do in your writing?

Isn’t the goal of narrative history to immerse the reader in a certain time and place, to engage the reader as part of the action? I always imagine that I am an eye-witness to the events I’m describing. I try to bring those events to life on the page by focusing on specific, concrete details the reader can visualize, and on documented quotations—what people said or heard others say—which in factual writing take the place of dialogue in fiction. For Because They Marched I was able to draw on eye-witness, day-by-day press reports, and on interviews conducted over the years with dozens of marchers and demonstrators whose testimonies even decades later speak eloquently of the passions of the time.

“I write for myself and for other kids just like me. I write for Miss Tennessee Kent, the 5th-grade teacher who once encouraged me. And I write for my grown-up friends. If a book isn’t good enough for them, it isn’t good enough for kids, either.”

I so admire the way your writing inspires children to obtain the facts, think for themselves and draw their own conclusions. How do you manage to write on sophisticated, sensitive subjects like the voting marches without being preachy and without talking down to readers?

I’m often asked what age level I write for. To begin with, when I sit down at my writing desk, the reader looking over my shoulder is me. As Usrsula Nordstrom famously said, “I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.” Anyone who writes for kids, whether fiction or nonfiction, is writing for the kid that still resides within that author. I write for myself and for other kids just like me. I write for Miss Tennessee Kent, the 5th-grade teacher who once encouraged me. And I write for my grown-up friends. If a book isn’t good enough for them, it isn’t good enough for kids, either. My books are aimed at anyone who can read at that level—all the way up to senility.

During that lengthy research process, were there any particular facts you uncovered about the march that truly surprised you?

snccbuttonWhen I first decided to write this book, I did not know that the Selma voting rights campaign originated with teenagers—high school and junior high students organized by the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. Their courageous demonstrations and sit-ins in the face of harsh police repression persuaded their parents and teachers to overcome their fears of retribution and join the fight. That was a welcome surprise that helped me frame my narrative with my core audience in mind.

On Bloody Sunday, who ordered the police to use tear gas and violence, and do you know if any children were injured that day?

According to Charles Fager’s, Selma 1965, Governor Wallace’s plan for stopping the march was presented at a meeting with Colonel Al Lingo: “Wallace’s scenario for stopping the march was laid out: its details are unclear (my emphasis) but there is every indication that he intended it to be carried out as peacefully as could be expected from the troopers.” (Fager p. 86) Wallace’s aides assured Mayor Smitherman that there would be no violence. However, public safety director Wilson Baker suspected that Lingo and Sheriff Jim Clark had plans of their own and that state troopers would turn the march into a bloodbath.

As the marchers approached, the troopers slipped gas masks over their faces. Some witnesses recalled seeing Sheriff Clark fingering a tear-gas canister while pacing up and down near the front lines. According to David Garrow’s Bearing the Cross, the troopers had been instructed “that tear gas would be used if the marchers refused to disperse.” (p. 398) It isn’t clear who issued those instructions, or who, if anyone, actually gave the order to use tear gas. As in so many similar situations, the first canister of tear gas may have been fired spontaneously as the troopers broke ranks and charged into the crowd of marchers. I chose to describe the confrontation from the point of view of the marchers, as they experienced it, and from the eyewitness accounts of the reporters.

Image of civil rights marchers in Selma on Bloody Sunday from the Library of Congress

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Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking to a crowd on March 9, 1965, “Turnaround Tuesday” when marchers were instructed to follow a court order after “Bloody Sunday” to stop their march to Montgomery in fear of more violence. Image in the Public Domain.

I am quite fascinated by the events of Turnaround Tuesday and how Martin Luther King, Jr. agreed with the official from the Justice Department to limit the second march that day – up to the point of the bridge. Why do you suppose he chose not to tell the crowd first about the plan? I imagine the marchers were surprised, confused and disappointed when asked to turnaround.

Bloody_Sunday-officers_await_demonstratorsIf King had told the marchers ahead of time that he intended to turn them around after crossing the bridge, he might have been confronted with an angry rebellion. By waiting until they reached the troopers, then asking the marchers to kneel and pray, then unexpectedly wheeling around and starting back, he was able to defuse the situation on the spot and maintain control. I discuss his reasons for agreeing to the compromise on p. 51 of my book.

March 9, 1965 image of police turning marchers around on Turnaround Tuesday in the Public Domain

I was delighted that you included information in your Epilogue about the 2013 Supreme Court decision to release nine states from seeking federal approval before changing their election laws. Can you give our readers some examples of how this decision might adversely affect voting rights today?

The Supreme Court decision has already affected the vote in the 2014 Midterm Elections. Voter ID laws, enacted along partisan lines, discourage or disenfranchise vulnerable segments of the voting population—the elderly, the poor, and minorities. Obtaining a photo ID can, for some, be burdensome and expensive. Attorney General Eric Holder and others have compared the laws to a poll tax. According to one study, twenty-one million eligible voters in the U.S. do not have a government-issued photo ID.

“As they cheer the Selma marchers on page after page, I hope they will feel inspired to take up the banner themselves, to meet the challenges of their own generation and march out to change the world.”

Those are alarming statistics. What do you hope children take away most from reading Because They Marched?

I want my readers to understand why the voting rights campaign was necessary, how our country has changed as a result of the Voting Rights Act, and what they can do to safeguard our most precious right—the right to vote. As they cheer the Selma marchers on page after page, I hope they will feel inspired to take up the banner themselves, to meet the challenges of their own generation and march out to change the world.

If it were possible for you to ask MLK, Jr. a question, what would it be?

I might ask, what are the three most influential books you have ever read—not counting the Bible?

What writing project is next for you?

I’m just finishing a book about the White Rose student anti-Nazi resistance movement at Munich University during World War II. When I visited Munich University a few months ago, I was deeply moved by the memorial made of ceramic tiles depicting White Rose leaflets that appear to have been dropped onto the cobblestone pavement at the university entrance. At the moment, I’m starting a book about America’s Vietnam War.

Russell, thanks so much for answering my questions and enlightening our readers. Your outstanding book has educated me with fascinating details I would never have otherwise known. Surely there are many children who will be inspired to take a stand for what they believe in after reading Because They Marched and perhaps even be motivated to become writers some day too.  I so look forward to reading your next book and all that come after that.

Readers, you can buy Because They Marched here.

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Giveaway #14 of the 14 Colossal Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways: Crafting for Mom

Holiday Giveaway Winners Have Been Selected! Congratulations to:

Giveaway 2 Adopt Me-Piper Smith from WI
Giveaway 3 Lovable Characters-Janet Coffield from NC
Giveaway 4 Comic Strips-Debra Hays from LA
Giveaway 5 stories for Christ Eve-Amy Burbol from TX
Giveaway 6 Essentia Classics-Cassandra McCavy from MA
Giveaway 7 Pirates-Kristina Carter from NC
Giveaway 8 Creative Christmas-Nicole Lancasteer from AZ
Giveaway 9 Cultural Xmas-Adrianne Braun from MI
Giveaway 10 Fairy Tales-Silvia Rodriguez from IL
Giveaway 11 Christmas Spirit-Robin Marshall from MD
Giveaway 12 Peace on Earth-Laura Zeigler from IN
Giveaway 13 True Meaning-Nikki Watkins from FL
Giveaway 14 Handicrafted Christmas-Christy Hawkes from UT

It’s the final day and the final giveaway of the 14 Colossal Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways and this one is all for you, Mom!

This giveaway includes a beautiful Christmas crafting book plus a pair of Christmas tree earrings I handmade from corrugated paper and glass beads. There are only three days left to enter this and all the other 12 giveaways still open for entries.

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Giveaway #1 – Happy Hanukkah! (Winner Already Chosen)

Giveaway #2 – Adopt Me! Books

Giveaway #3   – Loveable Characters

Giveaway #4  – Comic Strips

Giveaway #5 –  Stories for Christmas Eve

Giveaways #6 – Essential Classics

Giveaway #7 – Pirate’s Christmas

Giveaway # 8 – Creative Christmas

Giveaway #9 – Cultural Christmas

Giveaway #10 – Fairy Tales

Giveaway #11 – Christmas Spirit

Giveaway #12 – Peace on Earth

Giveaway #13 – True Meaning of Christmas

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Cover image courtesy of Stewart Tabori & Chang

 Handcrafted Christmas: Ornaments, Decorations and Cookie Recipes to Make at Home

•    Targeted Audience: Adults
•    Genre: Adult Craft Book
•    Author: Susan Waggoner
•    Photographer: Dane Holweger
•    Publisher: Stewart Tabori & Chang (Imprint of Abrams Books)
•    Publication Date: October 14, 2014
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 7 x 9
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 144 Pages
•    Retail: $19.95
•    ISBN: 978-1617690563

A Creative Christmas Awaits

DSC_0019I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for new crafting ideas – especially when it comes to making Christmas crafts. Handcrafted Christmas appeals to the creative ones who adore nostalgic looking crafts, with 40 original projects created for the home crafter. There are a few delicious cookie recipes too you can make before you get started crafting so you having something to devour while you create an original Christmas gift or something for yourself or your home.

©Copyright- Stewart Tabori & Chang

Unique and Beautiful Ideas

Author Susan Waggoner has written numerous non-fiction titles for DSC_0023making Christmas brighter, and after reading this title, I’d love to check out the others. In this book, find 40 unique vintage-style projects, with detailed, clear instructions, detailed supply lists and beautiful photographs. Create a sparkly Christmas cottage, a pine cone wreath, tabletop tree, holiday charm bracelet, needle-felted snowman and many more projects. In addition to the directions, the author shares interesting facts about Christmases of the past. It makes for great reading.

©Copyright- Stewart Tabori & Chang

What You’ll Love About This Book

DSC_0021The 40 projects included within the 144 pages of Handcrafted Christmas are not the quintessential crafts you so often see in Christmas books; these are original, out-of-the-ordinary and because there are so many different types of projects, this book appeals to a wide range of crafters. The high quality book itself is so lovely and made to last, so you can take it out every year and try something new. The recipes look delicious and are present beautifully in the photographs too.  Handcrafted Christmas is truly a keepsake for the dedicated Christmas crafter.

©Copyright- Stewart Tabori & Chang

About the Author

Susan Waggoner has written numerous fiction and non­fiction books. She is the author of STC’s It’s a Wonderful Christmas, Under the Tree, Christmas Memories, and Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas. She lives in New York City.

Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy of Handcrafted Christmas and One Pair of Handmade Christmas Tree Earrings and Check Out All Our Other Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways!

  1. Enter the giveaway by Liking our Facebook Page (if you haven’t already) and sending us an email to smartbooks (at) comcast.net with your name and mailing address. In the subject line of the email write Handcrafted Christmas Giveaway.  We will not share your email or address or use it for any other purpose than this giveaway. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not include your mailing address in your email your entry will be discarded.  (We only require addresses so books can be mailed quickly and in the past we have found it difficult to contact winners to obtain their mailing addresses.)
  2. You may enter any or all of our 14 Colossal Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways but no person will be eligible to win more than one giveaway this week – we’d like to spread the cheer to as many readers as possible.
  3. Optional: You will receive one extra entry for leaving a valid comment on this post on this website. Tell me about your favorite Christmas crafts.
  4. Optional: You will receive two extra entries for following me on Twitter.
  5. Optional: You will receive FIVE extra entries for sharing this giveaway from our Facebook Page. Go to the Facebook page and from there, click share on the link to this giveaway. If you share it from your own Facebook status and not from the Smart Book Facebook Page, I will not know about it, so it will not count.
  6. There will be one winner for this giveaway selected at random, residing in the USA. No books will be mailed outside the USA.
  7. This giveaway starts on Sunday, December 13, 2014 and ends on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 5 pm.
  8. The winner will be notified via email on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.
  9. Books will be mailed by Thursday, December 18,, 2014.
  10. Follow us on our Facebook Page to learn about more giveaways and read reviews and interviews.

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Giveaway #13 of the 14 Colossal Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways: True Meaning of Christmas

Holiday Giveaway Winners Have Been Selected! Congratulations to:

Giveaway 2 Adopt Me-Piper Smith from WI
Giveaway 3 Lovable Characters-Janet Coffield from NC
Giveaway 4 Comic Strips-Debra Hays from LA
Giveaway 5 stories for Christ Eve-Amy Burbol from TX
Giveaway 6 Essentia Classics-Cassandra McCavy from MA
Giveaway 7 Pirates-Kristina Carter from NC
Giveaway 8 Creative Christmas-Nicole Lancasteer from AZ
Giveaway 9 Cultural Xmas-Adrianne Braun from MI
Giveaway 10 Fairy Tales-Silvia Rodriguez from IL
Giveaway 11 Christmas Spirit-Robin Marshall from MD
Giveaway 12 Peace on Earth-Laura Zeigler from IN
Giveaway 13 True Meaning-Nikki Watkins from FL
Giveaway 14 Handicrafted Christmas-Christy Hawkes from UT

Giveaway #13 focuses on the true meaning of Christmas for young readers with two picture books and The First Christmas activity book. Scroll to the bottom for giveaway rules.

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Giveaway #1 – Happy Hanukkah! (Winner Already Chosen)

Giveaway #2 – Adopt Me! Books

Giveaway #3   – Loveable Characters

Giveaway #4  – Comic Strips

Giveaway #5 –  Stories for Christmas Eve

Giveaways #6 – Essential Classics

Giveaway #7 – Pirate’s Christmas

Giveaway # 8 – Creative Christmas

Giveaway #9 – Cultural Christmas

Giveaway #10 – Fairy Tales

Giveaway #11 – Christmas Spirit

Giveaway #12 – Peace on Earth

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The Donkey in the Living Room: A Tradition That Celebrates the True Meaning of Christmas

•    Targeted Audience: Preschool, Lower Elementary (Ages 4-8)
•    Genre: Children’s Christmas Religious
•    Author: Sarah Cunningham
•    Illustrator: Michael Roster
•    Publisher: B & H Kids
•    Publication Date: September 1, 2014
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 8 x 8
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $14.99
•    ISBN: 978-1433683176

The Story Behind the Story

DSC_0003The Donkey in the Living Room was born from one of the author’s childhood experiences. Starting nine days before Christmas each year, she and her brothers would awaken each day to a wrapped figurine on the fireplace mantel in the living room. Then they would gather around their father and listen to a special story about Christmas he would tell about that figurine. Now, author Sarah Raymond invites you, the reader, to start this special tradition with your family.

© Copyright B& H Books

Nine days Before Christmas

Gather your figurines to start your nine-day Christmas storytelling tradition. These figures include:

  1. Mary, Mother of Jesus
  2. The Donkey
  3. The Cow
  4. The Sheep
  5. The Shepherd
  6. The Angel
  7. The Camel
  8. The Wise Man
  9. Joseph, Father of Jesus

The stories for each of thee figurines are included in the book along with some colorful illustrations. There are some tips in the back of the book too for parents who are reading the stories to their children.

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© Copyright B& H Books

What You’ll Love About This Book

With the commercialization of Christmas, its true meaning is so often not front and center.  The Donkey in the Living Room offers readers a chance to start a wonderful new tradition to remind them what Christmas is truly all about. The stories are short, interesting and are written in catchy rhyming verse to keep your child’s attention. Your children will look forward to this special tradition all nine days before Christmas, making all the holiday festivities – from attending church to opening gifts – just all that much more extraordinary.

About the Author

January-2012-copySarah Cunningham is an idea junkie who blogs about extraordinary friendships in a sometimes too ordinary world. She has authored three other Christian books, does freelance event and communications work and attends a Wesleyan church that meets at her city’s YMCA. She and her faith writings have been featured in a wide range of media, including the Dallas Morning News, the Wichita Eagle, the USA Today and Christianity Today’s Leadership Journal. Sarah and her husband, Chuck, live in southern Michigan, with their two young sons.

 

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The Night Before Christmas

•    Targeted Audience: Preschool, Lower Elementary (Ages 3-5)
•    Genre: Fiction Picture Book
•    Author: Clement C. Moore
•    Illustrator: Lisbeth Zwerger
•    Publisher: Minedition
•    Publication Date: October 1, 2014
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 5.5 x 7
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 40 Pages
•    Retail: $15.99
•    ISBN: 978-9888240883

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© Copyright Minedition

The Classic Christmas Story in a Compact Size

It simply wouldn’t be Christmas without reading The Night Before Christmas. This version is so compact, your children just might want to take it with them to bed on Christmas Eve. Award-winning artist, Lisbeth Zwerger, created lovely Victorian style illustrations to go along with this classic story. I love her depictions of reindeer and the fairy tale-like quality of her work. Your children will be delighted when you read this enchanting little version to them as they follow along, gazing at the pictures.

About the Author

35Lisbeth Zwerger, one of the world’s most acclaimed children’s book illustrators, is well known for illustrating classic tales. She has brought her brush to The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and The Nutcracker, as well as many Grimm Brothers fairy tales. Her work is both captivating and lyrical, and always filled with a sense of whimsy. Ms. Zwerger has won numerous awards for her work, including the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Medal, presented to her in 1990 to recognize her lifetime contribution to children’s literature. Her most recent books for Minedition are The Little Mermaid and The Night Before Christmas.

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The First Christmas: Pages of Festive Activities

•    Targeted Audience: Preschool, Lower Elementary (Ages 4-7)
•    Genre: Children’s Activity Book
•    Author: Debbie Rivers-Moore
•    Illustrator: Caroline Davis
•    Publisher: Barron’s Educational Books
•    Publication Date: October 1, 2014
•    Binding: Spiral Bound Paperback
•    Dimensions: 8.5 x 8
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 48 Pages
•    Retail: $6.99
•    ISBN:978-1438005423

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© Copyright Barron’s Educations Books

The Birth of Baby Jesus

The First Christmas begins with a story about the miracle birth of baby Jesus in the stable. The many pages of activities that follow, keep the theme of the religious story. Draw baby Jesus in the manger, connect the dots to find out what Mary rode to Bethlehem, make an angel chain, finish the maze to help Mary and Joseph find their way to Bethlehem, spot the difference between pictures, design robes for the wise men and so much more.

Stickers and Ornaments Too

DSC_0017The book comes with over 50 beautiful, vividly colored stickers, from a camel and donkey to wise men and a sheep. Place them on activity pages or use them as you wish. There are four press-out ornaments to color and hang on your tree too – baby Jesus, to angels and a star.

© Copyright Barron’s Educations Books

DSC_0015Why You’ll Love This Book

All of Barron’s Educational Christmas activity books are so well thought out. They’re beautiful, entertaining and educational and keep kids busy in such constructive ways. Parents who want their children to keep the true meaning of Christmas front and center in their hearts will love The First Christmas, as the theme is found throughout the activity pages.

© Copyright Barron’s Educations Books

Enter for a Chance to Win All Three True Meaning of Christmas Titles on this Post and Be on the Lookout for Many More Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways All Week Long

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  1. Enter the giveaway by Liking our Facebook Page (if you haven’t already) and sending us an email to smartbooks (at) comcast.net with your name and mailing address. In the subject line of the email write True Meaning of Christmas Giveaway.  We will not share your email or address or use it for any other purpose than this giveaway. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not include your mailing address in your email your entry will be discarded.  (We only require addresses so books can be mailed quickly and in the past we have found it difficult to contact winners to obtain their mailing addresses.)
  2. You may enter any or all of our 14 Colossal Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways but no person will be eligible to win more than one giveaway this week – we’d like to spread the cheer to as many readers as possible.
  3. Optional: You will receive one extra entry for leaving a valid comment on this post on this website. Tell me about your favorite Christmas Eve traditions.
  4. Optional: You will receive two extra entries for following me on Twitter.
  5. Optional: You will receive FIVE extra entries for sharing this giveaway from our Facebook Page. Go to the Facebook page and from there, click share on the link to this giveaway. If you share it from your own Facebook status and not from the Smart Book Facebook Page, I will not know about it, so it will not count.
  6. There will be one winner for this three-book giveaway selected at random, residing in the USA. No books will be mailed outside the USA.
  7. This giveaway starts on Sunday, December 13, 2014 and ends on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 5 pm.
  8. The winner will be notified via email on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.
  9. Books will be mailed by Thursday, December 18,, 2014.
  10. Follow us on our Facebook Page to learn about more giveaways and read reviews and interviews.

FB twitter

Giveaway #12 of the 14 Colossal Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways: Peace on Earth

Holiday Giveaway Winners Have Been Selected! Congratulations to:

Giveaway 2 Adopt Me-Piper Smith from WI
Giveaway 3 Lovable Characters-Janet Coffield from NC
Giveaway 4 Comic Strips-Debra Hays from LA
Giveaway 5 stories for Christ Eve-Amy Burbol from TX
Giveaway 6 Essentia Classics-Cassandra McCavy from MA
Giveaway 7 Pirates-Kristina Carter from NC
Giveaway 8 Creative Christmas-Nicole Lancasteer from AZ
Giveaway 9 Cultural Xmas-Adrianne Braun from MI
Giveaway 10 Fairy Tales-Silvia Rodriguez from IL
Giveaway 11 Christmas Spirit-Robin Marshall from MD
Giveaway 12 Peace on Earth-Laura Zeigler from IN
Giveaway 13 True Meaning-Nikki Watkins from FL
Giveaway 14 Handicrafted Christmas-Christy Hawkes from UT

Giveaway #12 gives kids ages 8 and up three special books for Christmas. Scroll down for the Rules for the Peace on Earth Children’s Book Giveaway.

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Giveaway #1 – Happy Hanukkah! (Winner Already Chosen)

Giveaway #2 – Adopt Me! Books

Giveaway #3   – Loveable Characters

Giveaway #4  – Comic Strips

Giveaway #5 –  Stories for Christmas Eve

Giveaways #6 – Essential Classics

Giveaway #7 – Pirate’s Christmas

Giveaway # 8 – Creative Christmas

Giveaway #9 – Cultural Christmas

Giveaway #10 – Fairy Tales

Giveaway #11 – Christmas Spirit

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Book #1

Stampa

A Simple Case of Angles

•    Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle School (Ages 8-11)
•    Genre: Fiction Middle Reader Chapter Book
•    Author: Caroline Dderson
•    Publisher: Groundwood Books
•    Publication Date: September 16, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 5.5 x 8
•    Printing: Black and White
•    Length: 160 Pages
•    Retail: $9.95
•    ISBN: 978-1554984282

 Can a Good Deed Make up for a Dog’s Bad Behavior?

June Bug, Nicola’s dog, is nothing but trouble. She steals the neighbor’s turkey, pulls down the Christmas tree and destroys Mom’s almost-finished giant crossword. No one but Nicola wants to keep that dog around. One day Nicola and June Bug spot Shady Oaks, a new nursing home, and they decide to volunteer to be visitors to entertain the elderly residents. After all, that active little dog will surely cheer them up.  Inside the new nursing home, they can use a hand decorating for Christmas and putting up a tree. Back at school, some new things are happening too. There’s a new fifth grade girl there named Lindsay, and she seems to bring out the worst in Nicola. But after Nicola’s mom forbids her to visit Shady Oaks alone, out of desperation, Nicola invites Lindsay to join her. While there they discover something terrible going on and if they can make this wrong right with the dog, maybe this good deed will make everyone change their minds about keeping June Bug. But first we must meet some angels.

Why You’ll Love This Book

Caroline Adderson keeps the story moving with terrific dialog and a lot of action. The reader is instantly smitten with the likable main character and feels like he or she is part of the story. Of course there are some angels in the story too, but you’ll have to read it to find out just who they are. The best aspect of this book is the message that the elderly must be treated with kindness and respect, and when they are not, they need our help to seek justice. A Simple Case of Angles is a heartwarming and feel-good tale perfect for middle readers at Christmas time.

About the Author

carolineCaroline Adderson is the author of award-winning books for adults and young readers. She has been nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, two Commonwealth Writers’ Prizes, the Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Award and the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her children’s books include Jasper John Dooley, Left Behind (named a Best Children’s Book of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews), the picture book Norman, Speak! and her middle-grade novel, Middle of Nowhere, which won the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize and was shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband, the filmmaker Bruce Sweeney, their son and their dog.

Book #2

9781419711756

Shooting at the Stars: The Truce of 1914

•    Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle School (Ages 8-12)
•    Genre: Historical Fiction Picture Book
•    Author/Illustrator: John Hendrix
•    Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
•    Publication Date: October 7, 2014
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions:11.5 x 10
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 40 Pages
•    Retail: $15.99
•    ISBN: 978-1419711756

“Why can’t we just go home – and have peace?”

Peace During War

Shooting at the Stars: is historical fiction based upon the true facts surrounding the Christmas Truce of 1914, when allied and German soldiers spontaneously stopped fighting during WWI to celebrate Christmas Eve together. The story is told from the viewpoint of a British soldier who writes a letter home to his mother describing the events that led up to the temporary truce. He describes how the Germans put candles and lanterns in the trees they set up on their side of the trenches and began singing “Silent Night.”  One of the British soldiers threw jars of pear jam into the Germans’ trenches, and eventually the two enemy sides met in the middle. They buried the dead all around them and celebrated Christmas, exchanging souvenirs, singing and talking – until the orders came to begin fighting again.
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© Copyright – Image Courtesy of Abrams Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love This Story

Shooting at the Stars: is such a powerful and moving story, it will bring you to tears. John Hendrix  weaves facts and fiction into the storyline to bring it to life, along with his beautiful watercolor and ink paintings. Some are of the letters the British soldier wrote to his mother back home. In the back of the book is a glossary and a poignant author’s note explaining the historical facts of the Truce of 1914. The book reminds us that no matter who the enemy may be, we’re all humans, we all experience the same emotions and peace is so much better than war. There’s even an old photograph from the actual Truce of 1914. This is one of the most touching picture books I’ve ever read, and I highly recommend it for middle readers.

HendrixAbout the Author/Illustrator

John Hendrix’s books include John Brown: His Fight for Freedom, a Publishers Weekly Best Book and New York Public Library Top 100 Book, and Nurse, Soldier, Spy, by Marissa Moss, which received a Eureka! Children’s Book Award and Booklist Editor’s Choice Award. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Book #3

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Christmas: Pocket Activity Fun and Games

•    Targeted Audience: Lover & Upper Elementary (Ages 6-10)
•    Genre: Children’s Activity Book
•    Publisher: Barron’s Educational Books
•    Publication Date: October 1, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions:11.5.5 x 8.5
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 96 Pages
•    Retail: $7.99
•    ISBN: 978-1438005171

“Santa Claus is on his way, and reindeer pull his toy-filled sleigh. To find out more, you’ll need to look inside the pages of this book.”

The Everything Christmas Activity Book

This pocket-sized activity book may be portable, but it’s HUGE in content. Draw, craft with beautiful papers and stickers in the book, spot the differences between pictures, connect the dots, bake cookies with Mrs Claus, Make 3D Christmas cards and so much more. The back card stock cover opens up into a two-sided, 3 panel spread for placing stickers too. There’s a whole lot going on here, and kids will love all these activities at home or on the road. Barron’s Christmas Activity Books just can’t be beat!

Enter for a Chance to Win All Three Peace on Earth Titles on this Post and Be on the Lookout for Many More Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways All Week Long

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  1. Enter the giveaway by Liking our Facebook Page (if you haven’t already) and sending us an email to smartbooks (at) comcast.net with your name and mailing address. In the subject line of the email write Peace on Earth Giveaway.  We will not share your email or address or use it for any other purpose than this giveaway. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not include your mailing address in your email your entry will be discarded.  (We only require addresses so books can be mailed quickly and in the past we have found it difficult to contact winners to obtain their mailing addresses.)
  2. You may enter any or all of our 14 Colossal Holiday Children’s Book Giveaways but no person will be eligible to win more than one giveaway this week – we’d like to spread the cheer to as many readers as possible.
  3. Optional: You will receive one extra entry for leaving a valid comment on this post on this website. Tell me about your favorite Christmas gift you received as a child.
  4. Optional: You will receive two extra entries for following me on Twitter.
  5. Optional: You will receive FIVE extra entries for sharing this giveaway from our Facebook Page. Go to the Facebook page and from there, click share on the link to this giveaway. If you share it from your own Facebook status and not from the Smart Book Facebook Page, I will not know about it, so it will not count.
  6. There will be one winner for this three-book giveaway selected at random, residing in the USA. No books will be mailed outside the USA.
  7. This giveaway starts on Saturday, December 12, 2014 and ends on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 5 pm.
  8. The winner will be notified via email on Wednesday, December 17, 2014.
  9. Books will be mailed by Thursday, December 18,, 2014.
  10. Follow us on our Facebook Page to learn about more giveaways and read reviews and interviews.

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