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A neighborhood bookstore blog for Mt. Airy and beyond.
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They do exist! Finger puppets of your favorite authors and celebrities!

Wed, 2015-10-14 11:46
Yes, it's true. You can now put on a puppet show starring Hannah Arendt, Malcom X, or Betsy Ross. Mix it up and let your imagination go wild.

Feeling revolutionary? Here's your very own Che Guevara.

Perhaps a romance between Malcom X and Frida Kahlo?

The story is yours to create with Big Blue Marble's selection of literary finger puppets. Also, every puppet is magnetic for convenient attachment to any magnetic surface. Go on, put Andy Warhol on your refrigerator.

And don't forget Ms. Arendt.

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Jen's Five Books of Possibilities

Tue, 2015-10-06 18:49
So there's a bunch of books that have come out this year, all YA, whose plots I was constantly mixing up or forgetting, due to their titles full of quantifiers. Here's a little chart to help clear things up. Also, and this wasn't confusing at ALL, three of the authors below will be reading their books at the store this Friday, October 9. Come check them out!

An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes by Randy Ribay (Merit Press, $17.99)
In which four D&D-playing friends find themselves on a road trip, working through the parts of their lives they haven't told each other.

Anything Could Happen by Will Walton (Push, $17.99)
In which a small town kid deals with being in love with his straight best friend.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (Delacorte, $18.99)
In which a teenager confined to her house by profound allergies starts to fall for her new neighbor.

Always Never Sometimes by Adi Alsaid (Harlequin Teen, $17.99)
In which a pair of best friends, who have made a list of things they would NEVER do in high school, decide in their final year that they might as well try all of them instead.

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio (Balzer & Bray, $17.99)
In which a high school senior finds out she's intersex...and so does everyone else.

Bonus picks:

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, $9.99)
In which a teen starts at a new school after five years on the road with her father, dealing with his traumatic memories of Iraq. (This is actually from last year, but the paperback just came out this summer.)

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa (Balzer & Bray, $17.99)
In which three friends become closer as they struggle with romance, bullying, foster home and family problems, and mental health issues.

Jennifer Sheffield, October 2015
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

YA Scavenger Hunt

Thu, 2015-10-01 15:00

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! 

This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Huntpage to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM--but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a blue team, a pink team, a teal team and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number somewhere. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 
Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by OCTOBER 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Today, I am hosting Stephanie Keyes on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Stephanie Keyes is the author of the YA Fantasy series The Star Child, which currently includes The Star Child, After Faerie, The Fallen Stars, The Star Catcher, and The Last Protector, all from by Inkspell Publishing. She will also release the forthcoming novellas The Boy In The Trees (November 2015) and A Faerie Wedding: A Star Child Companion Novella #4.5 (February 2016).
The Star Catcher took first place in the 2014 Dante Rossetti Young Adult novel competition (Mythological Category).  Here's a bit about The Star Catcher: Kellen and Cali will battle bewitched armies and unknown foes as they fight to stay together. Will Kellen embrace his immortal destiny? Or will his world, and the man he is fated to become, be destroyed by The Star Catcher?

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here! And enter for a chance to win THE FALLEN STARS, another book in THE STAR CHILD series in our #TeamPurple  Giveaway! 
Stephanie's website: the book here:
And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Cordelia Jensen, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is . . . wait for it . . . not such a unique one  . . but a good one . . . 7! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the purple team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author Adi Alsaid,

BONUS! Extra SKYSCRAPING GIveaway! Enter here for signed ARC giveaways of my book SKYSCRAPING: a Rafflecopter giveaway 
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Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Staff Review: Rainbow Train by Chana Rothman

Fri, 2015-09-11 14:30
Reviewed by Jennifer Sheffield

We are excited to announce the recent arrival of Rainbow Train, a CD of songs of gender liberation, created by local teacher and musician Chana Rothman. Chana was Micah's music teacher from 18 months until about age 3, and, along with her music and musicianship, I've always loved the care and deliberation evident in her song choices and their presentation in class.

Next stop: free to choose; next stop: we've got love coming through...

One of the albums I loved growing up was Free to Be You and Me, with its fabulous and memorable songs and sketches celebrating friendship and cutting down gender stereotypes. So I was looking forward to sharing it with my own child...until I listened to it after he was born. Some songs had stood the test of time beautifully -- "Some Kinds of Help," "Glad to Have a Friend Like You," not to mention the title song itself. But in listening to many of the other songs, I found they were more likely to introduce the very stereotypes they were created to dispel. It seems we have moved forward since the '70s!

So then I was excited to learn, during one of our periodic post-music-class discussions of gender and language and music, that Chana was working on a project to create a musical update, of sorts, and to move the conversation even further along. And now, only a couple years later, we have an album full of fabulous and memorable music that celebrates being who you are, gender as a spectrum, rejecting gender stereotypes, being in charge of your own body, forging and standing up for your own identity, and transformation!

Next stop: turn another whirl; you don't have to be just a boy or a girl; you can be a beautiful blend and swirl...

Throughout the album, Chana works to transcend some of the difficult lines between rejecting a gender binary altogether (gender as rules imposed from outside) and recognizing/crossing it (gender as identity). One of the ways she does this is by focusing on kids and their own sense of self.

One of the most haunting songs on the album is "Holy," with an ethereal melody and a plea for letting people grow up to be their own amazing selves. One of Chana's friends (and a fellow music class attendee) compiled a beautiful photo-montage video with this song, to celebrate her own child's gender experience. (You can see the video at the end of a Huffington Post blog article Chana wrote about some of her experiences that inspired the Rainbow Train project.)

The other songs on the album continue this theme of letting kids (or anyone!) be who they are, as long as they're not hurting anyone. This includes playing what they want to play, liking what they like, and also trusting their own ideas of who they are. There's a strong focus on bodily autonomy, from "Your body is your own; you can decorate it how you like" to "My body is mine, each and every day," to "Everybody gets to choose their own name".

Next stop: pink and blue; anyone can wear these colors, it's true...

One thing I love about Rainbow Train is the way it responds to hurtful language without privileging the actual bullying and instead by getting to its root.

Free to Be You and Me has a song called "William's Doll," in which William persists in requesting a doll to love despite the dismissive or disparaging things his family tell him. This song has a corollary in Rainbow Train with the poem "Boy in a Dress". The new poem similarly presents different people's reactions, including a bullying kid, but, unlike the Free to Be song, the bully's reactions here are presented by providing the subtext ("I'm scared and confused, so I'll be mean to you"), rather than by saying any of the mean things out loud.

Earlier, in the song "Gender Blender," Chana suggests specific responses to hurtful things that people may say, either deliberately or without understanding:
"If they say, 'That truck's for boys,' say, 'Anybody can use this toy!'"
"If they say, 'Only girls wear pink', say, 'A color's just a color, don't you think?'"
"If they say, 'Girls look like this', say, 'There are more ways to be a girl than I could list!'"
"And if they tell you who you're gonna be, say, 'Thanks, but actually, that's up to me!'"

And, finally, she presents all sorts of encouraging/affirming comments directly from the mouths of actual kids: "There's no such thing as boy colors and girl colors." And "Anyone can play sports, no matter who you are, no matter how old you are."

Sometimes people tell you who to be...
They try to put you in a box that you can't even see
We're moving to a place where we're free...
And there's plenty of room for you, plenty of room for me...

The album has something in it for everyone. Along with its songs about kids and growing up, there's a welcome baby song (one of my favorites), and even a piece called "In Utero". There's a song that introduces Rosa Parks and Harvey Milk and links their struggles to those in the present. Folk songs, rap songs, lyrical, and laid-back songs.

Rainbow Train is certainly a sensation in my own household. Released in May, it stayed on nearly constant play in the car for two months. My four-year-old has worked really hard at learning the songs and the words -- something he's only done quite as consistently with the soundtrack to Cats. So, you know, it's (almost) "Better than Cats!" He sings along and asks me to join in, and then later, even on songs where I haven't heard him sing, he can fill in lines I've forgotten.

Next stop: tell us who you are; next stop: shine your star; next stop: we've come so far, riding on the Rainbow Train...

The album is also excitingly home-grown: Chana collaborated with numerous musicians from the neighborhood. A number of local kids appear as well, shouting "Rainbow Train!" at the beginning, or singing in the songs, or providing their own experiences and wisdom. And there were music and dance parties along the way, to which everyone was invited -- such an amazing amount of community support.

So take my hand, come along, and take a ride on the Rainbow Train!

See also Chana's Rainbow Train Resources on her website.
If you're not local to Philly, you can also order the cd/songs from cdbaby.
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Preparing for September's Papal Traffic and Transit Disruptions

Thu, 2015-08-27 20:03
(Pterodactyl Map by Bradley Wrenn; source: PlanPhilly on Facebook)
Exactly a month from now, the city of Philadelphia will be hosting the World Meeting of Families, starting Tuesday, Sept. 22, and concluding over the weekend with a two-day visit by Pope Francis and a Catholic Mass on the Parkway. Security measures are being put in place to regulate the roads and the ridership of SEPTA, particularly throughout the long weekend. We are expecting a lot of disruption at this time, both with people who want to leave Center City and people who will not be able to enter (or re-enter) it.

So, we up here in the Northwest would like to help. The Big Blue Marble is offering our second floor as a haven for those who are unable to get to work on Friday, September 25, due the added security. Come to the bookstore for refreshments, WiFi, a pleasant place to hang out during the day, and possibly a sympathetic ear.

We also recommend that people who are planning to come from beyond the neighborhood to our YA book club/Terry Pratchett Tribute on Thursday, 9/24, or Poetry Aloud & Alive on Friday, 9/25, check their routes before proceeding!

And now, here is a clearinghouse of sorts, with links to the current information the City has provided about the traffic and transit security. Will try to update, as much as possible.

1) Security Perimeter Maps, by Date and Time

This is a series of eight maps, from Thursday at 10pm to Sunday at 6am, showing exactly where the different lines will be when and what they mean. Color coded and nicely detailed. Answers questions like "Exactly when does West Philly get involved, and to what extent?"

NOTE: As of this writing, these maps still say "Traffic Box" on them. Be cautioned that the term "traffic box" has now been banned, according to this article in today's Philadelphia Inquirer, in favor of the more welcoming term "Francis Festival Grounds".

2) State Road Closures

A map of state road closures during the papal visit.
Spoiler: You'll need an alternative to Rte. 76.

3) SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority) Transit Changes

Lots of detail on the SEPTA website. Buses, trains, trolleys, regional rail, station details, etc.

Specific information on the Airport Line from today's Inquirer.

There's also a quick SEPTA summary if you scroll to the end of this Inquirer article from last Thursday: "City to residents: We will help you with pope security restrictions". There's some good general information in the article too, with details about the 311 hotline and the "Papal Visit Playbook" mentioned below, and other useful facts: "Residents can drive within the box, though Nutter cautioned that streets could be filled with people."

Papal SEPTA passes continue available. Article contains a walking distances map (see above).

4) PATCO (Port Authority Transit Co.), Ben Franklin Bridge, and New Jersey

Map, operating stations, fares, and parking information on the PATCO website. There's also information on the Ben Franklin Bridge closure. Spoiler: pedestrians only. (Editor's note: I saw an article that said "If you're planning to walk across the bridge, get an early start," to which my sweetie replied, "Like about three weeks.")

Here's a article (8/27) on road closures in South Jersey.

5) City government website has a special papal visit page. Even more maps! Includes some of the maps listed here, along with details like walking distances within the perimeters (different from the SEPTA version), locations of grocery stores and hospitals, etc.

6) The Papal Visit Playbook

The Papal Visit Playbook contains lots of useful information, such as the following, from the How to Prepare page:
You may want to think of the Papal Visit weekend as a snow weekend, where moving around the city will be difficult. Expect busy hotels and restaurants. Food delivery may also be limited due to the vehicular traffic restrictions from Friday, September 25 – Monday, September 28.

To avoid walking through large crowds to get to grocery stores or local eateries, be sure to stock up on food essentials prior to the weekend. Daily life should only be impacted for a few days, but it never hurts to be prepared and avoid any unnecessary hassles. You may want to consider stocking up on basic household essentials in addition to your regular grocery list – pantry staples, specialty food for infants and elderly, medications, and hygienic supplies. Also, make sure you don’t forget your pets – keep an extra stock of supplies and pet food for your loving four-legged family members!Topics on the How to Prepare page* include bicycles (okay in the traffic box Francis Festival Grounds but not the secure area...and you can take bikes across the BF bridge if you walk them) and Amtrak (which is requiring reservations for that weekend).

*Editor's Caveat: As of this posting, I can find the "How to Prepare" page using the link, but I can't find the link on the playbook homepage, as I did 4 days ago. Use advisedly.

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Maps! Maps! Maps!

Wed, 2015-08-26 12:02
You asked for them, we got them! Maps. Remember those? Never be lost or disoriented again with Rand McNally's Philadelphia street map, the Streetwise Philadelphia map, and for those going further afield, the Rand McNally Philadelphia and Southeast Pennsylvania map. Enjoy the experience of viewing the entire region at a glance!

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Celebrating Multiracial Families and Friendships: A List of Books for Kids and Teens

Mon, 2015-08-10 18:54
This past April, at the Mt. Airy Kids' Literary Festival, we welcomed Tanya Hutchins, author of Born Beautiful Biracial: A Compilation of Children's Essays, and Mt. Airy author Lori Tharps, creator of ?RU! t-shirts (for sale in the bookstore!), to facilitate a fascinating discussion dealing with the "What Are You?" questions that many people who grow up biracial or multiracial regularly face, as well as issues around who is perceived as family.

Here's a list of books we started compiling then, that address these questions in some way. Some feature multiracial families; some feature strong interracial friendships. Others celebrate the wide diversity of skin tones and other physical features among people of different races and cultures. It is, of course, only a small subset of all such books, though I expect it to grow over time. At the end is a list of links to other lists and resources, with even more books to explore.

Within each section below, the books are arranged chronologically, to give a sense of how things have evolved over time. An asterisk * marks a book in which multiracial/multicultural identity is incidental and not central to the story. (If I don't know or am not sure how to characterize it, I've left it off.)

Compiled by Jennifer Sheffield, with help from Jennifer Woodfin and Lori Tharps


Talking with kids about race:

The Skin I'm in: A First Look at Racism by Pat Thomas, illustrated by Lesley Harker (2003)
Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester (2005)
The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler, illustrated by David Lee Csicsko (2005)
Born Beautiful Biracial: A Compilation of Children's Essays (by children ages 6-14), compiled by Tanya Hutchins (2014)

Board books for babies and toddlers:

*More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams (1990)
Shades of Black by Sandra L. Pinkney, photographs by Myles C. Pinkney (2000)
*Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers, illustrated by Marla Frazee (2001)
I am Latino: The Beauty in Me by Sandra L. Pinkney, photographs by Myles C. Pinkney (2007)
Global Babies, a Global Fund for Children book (2007)
American Babies, a Global Fund for Children book (2010)

Picture books about families, bodies, and reproduction:

The Family Book by Todd Parr (2003)
*Who Has What? All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies by Robie Harris (2011)
*What Makes a Baby? by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth (2012) [This book separates the genetic/biological components from the emotional component of making a baby, thus allowing for nontraditional families.]
*It Takes Love (and Some Other Stuff) to Make a Baby by L.L. Bird, illustrated by Patrick Girouard (2014) [Two-mom family using donor insemination.]
Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang & Max Lang (2015)
One Family by George Shannon, illustrated by Blanca Gomez (2015)

General picture books:

Black is Brown is Tan by Arnold Adoff (1973)
*Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka (1993)
*Jamaica and Brianna By Juanita Havill, illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien (1993)
All of the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka (1994)
Jalapeño Bagels by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Robert Casilla (1996)
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, illustrated by Leslie Staub (1997)
*A Child's Calendar: poems by John Updike, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1999)
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz (1999)
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (2001)
The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi (2001)
*The Princesses Have a Ball by Teresa Bateman, illustrated by Lynne Cravath (2002)
*Felicia's Favorite Story by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by Adriana Romo (2002)
I Love Saturdays y domingos by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Elivia Savadier (2002)
The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster, illustrated by Chris Raschka (2005)
Oscar's Half Birthday by Bob Graham (2005)
I am Latino: The Beauty in Me by Sandra L. Pinkney, photographs by Myles C. Pinkney (2007)
In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco (2009)
*Shopping with Dad by Matt Harvey, illustrated by Miriam Latimer (2010)
*Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2010)
*A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager, illustrated by Kristin Blackwood and Mike Blanc (2011)
I am the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr. (2013)
*One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail (2015)
My New Mom and Me by Renata Galindo (forthcoming, 2016)
Quackers by Liz Wong (forthcoming, 2016)

Middle Grade/Chapter books:

*The Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce, starting with Sandry's Book (1997)
Crossing Jordan by Adrian Fogelin (2000)
Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee (2003)
*The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (2007, basis for the 2015 Disney Pixar movie Home)
*The Popularity Papers series by Amy Ignatow, starting with The Popularity Papers (2010)
*The Flower Power series by Lauren Myracle, starting with Luv Ya Bunches (2010)
The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine (2012)
My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman (2013)
*The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy (2014)
The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods (2014)
*Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff (2014)
Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones, illustrations by Katie Kath (2015)

Young Adult books:

I Hadn't Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson (1994)
From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun by Jacqueline Woodson (1995)
If You Come Softly (1998) and Behind You (2004) by Jacqueline Woodson
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher (2001)
Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Peña (2008)
Liar by Justine Larbalestier (2009)
*The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu, starting with Legend (2011)
*Hidden by Helen Frost (2011)
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (2012)
*Rogue by Lyn Miller-Lachmann (2013)
*The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson (2014)

Some other lists and resources:

Cool Mom Picks blog: How to talk to your kids about prejudice with the help of 12 of our favorite books
Pinterest: Anti-Bias Children's Books
Goodreads Listopia: Children's Books Depicting Multiracial Families
What Do We Do All Day blog: Multicultural and Diverse Children's Books (a list of lists)
Multiracial Asian Families blog: Multiracial Asian Children's Books
ComeUnity Adoption books: Multiracial Diversity Books for Children
Oakland Library: DÍA (Diversity in Action!): Great Kids' Books with Multiracial Characters
Goodreads Listopia: Mixed race protagonists in middle grade and young adult novels
Booklist Online: Classroom Connections: Multiracial Characters (Middle Grade and YA)
Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA): Mixed, But Not Mixed Up: Biracial Characters in YA Lit.

*An asterisk marks books in which multiracial/multicultural identity is incidental and not central to the story. If I don't know or am not sure how to characterize it, I've left it off.

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Jen's Next Ten Alphabets All Around

Sun, 2015-07-26 13:40
(See also Jen's first ten alphabets. Many of these are new releases since then!)

Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout (Chronicle, $7.99)
I particularly like seeing "Detour" and "End Detour" on facing pages.

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker (Simon & Schuster, $7.99)
It's career day for the peas!

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (Seven Stories Press, $9.99; also available in Spanish)
Also, there's a cat.

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History... and Our Future! by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl (City Lights, $14.95)
U is for Ursula! (Le Guin)

Take Away the A by Michaël Escoffier (Enchanted Lion Books, $17.95)
"Without the I, stairs lead to the stars..."

Animal Parade A to Z wooden puzzle (Begin Again $39.99)
Twenty-six detailed and interlocking pieces!

A is for Art Museum by Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker (Temple University Press, $18.95)
Just to be clear, this is the Philadelphia Museum of Art. So you go to the museum, and, voilà, there's the art from the book!

How to Build an A by Sara Midda (Workman, $17.95)
With foam blocks (included).

These last two I haven't actually seen in real life, but they look promising:

The Construction Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta (Charlesbridge, $7.95)
Because beautiful pictures, and while I haven't see all the text, the language I have seen is gender-neutral.

The Turn-Around Upside-Down Alphabet Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst (Simon & Schuster, $17.99)
Because it's nice to get a new perspective.

Jennifer Sheffield, July 2015
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Janet's Five Unrelated Picks for July

Fri, 2015-07-10 12:52
Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (Alfred A. Knopf, $24.00)
Haruf's writing is beautiful in its simplicity. As two older adults find comfort in each other's company, once again life's complexities intervene.

Spool of Blue Thread by Ann Tyler (Alfred A. Knopf, $25.95)
Eccentric characters set in Baltimore; Anne Tyler weaves a tale of intergenerational irregularities.

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine Books, $16.00)
A grieving mother, leaving her daughter, spends the remainder of her life studying elephants and their response to loss.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (Ten Speed Press, $16.99)
The one "clutter" book worth purchasing with uniquely specific tools to simplify your surroundings and your life.

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss (Random House, $17.99)
Coming out on July 28th, Dr. Seuss' discovered story addresses the difficulty of having choices and the inevitability of ultimately having to choose.

Janet Elfant, July 2015
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Star Wars Epic Yarns!

Wed, 2015-07-01 11:48

From the authors of Cozy Classics, we now bring you Epic Yarns! The first installment: A New Hope.

Authors Jack and Holman Wang have returned with their charming felt figures to recreate Star Wars Episode IV. It's all here, the Death Star, the garbage chute, light sabers and X-Wing fighters, the entire story in twelve words with beautiful, detailed illustrations rendered entirely in felt.

Stop by Big Blue Marble Bookstore and get your copy today!

It's a felt wookie. I mean, who can resist?
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Janet's Five Choices for Juneteenth, Father's Day, and Rhinoceroses

Thu, 2015-06-18 11:59
  • 150th anniversary of Juneteenth: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • Father's Day: Sunday, June 21, 2015
  • Rhinoceroses...are for every day?

Slavery in Philadelphia by Phillip Seitz (Create Space, $16.00)

The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis (Beacon Press, $17.50)

The Barefoot Book of Father and Daughter Tales retold by Josephine Evetts-Secker (Barefoot Books, $23.99)

Rhymoceros by Janik Coat (Abrams, $15.95)

Hippopposites by Janik Coat (Abrams, $14.95)

Janet Elfant, June 2015
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Author Interview: Cordelia Jensen

Tue, 2015-05-26 01:30
by Jennifer Sheffield

Hi, Cordelia! Congratulations on the imminent release of Skyscraping! (Details below on the June 6 book launch party!) Here is my synopsis:

"Newborn stars / take millions of years to form ... / But the constellation of a family / can shift shape / in seconds." Mira starts her senior year on top of the world, ready for college, ready to preserve the glories of high school in perfectly laid out yearbook form. But then her world is rocked by family secrets, and, before she can overcome her rage and sense of betrayal, rocked again. And now she needs to pull herself back out of the chaos and get her world in order, while there is still time. Deeply powerful free verse novel about love and fear and family, and how to manage when the world turns upside down.

I know that Skyscraping began as a memoir. What prompted you to change it to fiction, and what was that process like? Did it change how you felt about the writing and about the story?

I changed it to fiction for the creative freedom that decision gave me. It allowed me to change characters and plotlines the way that made sense with the story, as opposed to having to be strictly true to life. It was also a healing process for me to change things—like my own father was too sick to attend my high school graduation but Mira’s dad sees her graduate. However, it was very hard, at times during the revision process, to not feel protective of the original story or characters. For example, my editor (rightly so) really pushed for Mira to act out more against her dad and be angrier with him. This was REALLY hard for me to do because I still miss him a lot and think of him mostly in a positive light now and I had a hard time dredging up the anger. I am glad I fictionalized it, I do feel like I could write a memoir version of the story someday, maybe in essay form or something, but it is relieving to work on my other projects (for now) that have less of a direct tie to my life.

Is it strange, in talking about your work now that it’s out there, to navigate the boundaries between Mira’s life and your own? I could see it being both powerful to talk about and overly personal at the same time.

It is strange! Thanks for asking. The strangest part is telling strangers (ha) about my own father’s death from AIDS. That is obviously not essential when I am blurbing the book, but I somehow think it is and end up telling people the memoir part of it all the time. Definitely overly personal; I’m pretty sure I’ve weirded some people out. ☺ But generally I’m not shy about “getting deep quick” and have a hard time with a lot of superficial conversation, so maybe the weirding people out part is fine—it is pretty true to me.

I like a lot of the significant characters in the book and (well, mostly) the ways they treat each other. Are there characters you particularly identify with, aside from Mira herself? Were some characters harder to write than others?

Hmmm . . . well, there were some characters that were cut that were hard for me to cut. Mira used to have another friend named Shay, and Adam’s mom used to be a significant character in the book. So, those two were not hard for me to write but they were hard for me to lose. Cutting them, though, made Mira more alone in her story as well as streamlining some subplots. I think the Mom’s character was the hardest to write because I was most concerned with my own mother and what she would think of this character. So, again, more personal issues getting in the way.

There’s a playfulness to Chloe’s character (who is an amalgam of my best female friends growing up) that I identify with and I think in some ways I was more like a combination of Chloe and Mira because I was a lot more social than Mira is. I love April (and I really love my real sister Julia ☺ ) and I feel like her openness is more similar to myself today but not to who I was in high school. I feel most connected to April and the dad’s character, and their characters did not really change much from early drafts. I had fun writing Dylan who is really an amalgam of all my male friends in high school; it was fun to spend time with them again.

Last month, when you came to our YA book club discussion of Home of the Brave, I loved the insights you presented about the verse novel form. Was Skyscraping always written in verse, or did that evolve along with the shift in genre?

Thank you! I love talking about the elusive verse novel form! It was always in verse. It’s because the memoir emerged from poems I had written about my family over the span of around fifteen years. I also think verse novels are the perfect form for stories that tackle difficult subject matter: the form leaves the reader with some space to process what is happening and the form highlights the emotional arc of the character which, in trying life situations, is really what matters the most I think.

The way you play with space on the page is beautiful and powerful. I love the full moon page, and the word cascade of “Stranded”. What was it like working with words and space like this? How does it change your sense of story to work on the form at the same time?

I LOVE playing with white space in the verse novel form. Melanie Crowder just wrote a terrific blog post about this. It actually includes my own analysis of the white space in “Stranded.” I like how working with white space feels like making art. You go beyond the words and create the relationship the words have to space and use the space to actually be a part of your poem. It is like creating composition when you are painting. Maybe it is also how a sculptor feels as she carves. This is something you can’t do nearly as much when you are writing a novel. And I do miss it when I am writing regular prose.

What were the sources of your space and flight and time imagery? Did you, as Mira did with the yearbook, try out other images for framing the story before finding this one?

What a great question, Jen! I actually did take astronomy my senior year of high school from a really talented teacher named Mr. Thompson. He was one of those teachers that the whole school sort of worshipped. When I first started writing the fictionalized draft of the memoir (originally titled “Sundialing”) I wrote original versions of the poems “Where Windows Are Stars” and “Something Stellar” and it was through writing these poems that I figured out I could carry this celestial imagery through the book.

The emphasis on time came from yearbook itself. I was also the yearbook editor my senior year and I wrote some version of the poem “Capturing Time” and I started to think about how interesting it was that I sort of chose to spend so much time in high school doing yearbook (something so nostalgic oriented) while my father had this ticking time clock and so did my high school career. I sort of built the whole story on the idea that “everything was ending at once.”

But to answer your question, no, there was only ever that image system. Though I think as it became revised I extended it naturally to include any kind of sky image, not just space and time. I like how this image system also works with Mira’s existential crisis. I also took philosophy my senior year of high school from a very skilled teacher and loved thinking about Existentialism in particular. Not going to lie, though, I do own the book Astronomy for Dummies. Here’s a blog post where I talk about creating an image system in a verse novel.

What kinds of research did you need to do to build your story and the world in which it takes place? There are lots of details about Manhattan in the '90s and about the growing awareness of HIV that clearly read like the living of it, and then there are lots of facts about the disease and the stars. Were you going mainly on things you already knew and remembered?

It is definitely a combination of remembering things and Googling! I also watched movies that take place in NYC in the early-mid nineties…like Home Alone 2 and Green Card. ☺ Google is amazing: I could Google the whole Phish show playlist from the New Year's show, I watched Tom Hanks’s best actor speech for Philadelphia, I looked at movie releases throughout the year. The most research I did, though, was astronomy related. I bought some books (see confession above) and spent a lot of time looking at astronomy term definitions. I listened to all my music from that time and made a playlist. I also kept extensive diaries in high school which I re-read and had my own senior year yearbook by my side throughout the process.

I also researched natural remedies and HIV/AIDS facts from that time. And how certain sicknesses worked. This was hard for me. Because I was a teen and not really sure what was going with my own father medically throughout the years he was sick (my father was HIV Positive in 1986 and really very sick from 1992-1994) I had to go back and try to figure out more about the medical part of it. And then alter it to match the book’s own timeframe. I also am very indebted to my friend Jenna Conley for taking time to fact check the medical part of the book.

Along with your writing and teaching, you’ve been running wonderful writing workshops for kids at the bookstore, and with your students you’ve created the Mt. Airy Musers literary journal. I love seeing how enthusiastic the kids are! Do you have other current or upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

Thank you! It is so fun to work on this journal with such enthusiastic young writers and artists. We have our second issue coming out at the end of May and hoping to do a third next fall. Other than MAM and teaching creative writing workshops for kids, I will be teaching a Writing for Children & Young Adults class at Bryn Mawr College for the second time next spring. In terms of writing, I have two other completed manuscripts that will hopefully sell sometime soon and I am working on another WIP. I’ll keep you posted!

Excellent! And now for our "3 for 3" book questions:

1. What were 3 of your favorite books from childhood/teen years?

Betsy & Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace; Just As Long As We’re Together by Judy Blume; The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

2. What are 3 books that you've read recently that surprised you?

Denton Little’s Death Date by Lance Rubin, because it’s a real laugh out loud comedy despite harrowing circumstances; The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman because I really enjoyed the magical realism in this book and just the premise itself was, for no better word, COOL; None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio because the main character is SO relatable while being an intersex character.

3. What are 3 books that influence/d your work?

I would say e.e. cummings poetry had a profound effect on me when I was a teen, and I still think about the freedom he took with word play when I write; the first verse novels I read when I was writing my own helped me understand the form: Katherine Appelgate’s Home of the Brave was one of these as well as Kirsten Smith’s The Geography of Girlhood; I really am drawn to beautiful/sad stories like Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun or Karen Foxlee’s The Anatomy of Wings and I surround myself with the MOOD of these sort of books, carving a white space around me, as I write.

Thank you so much for joining us!

Thanks for having me, Jen. Such great questions!!!

Cordelia Jensen is a YA writer. She graduated in 2012 with a MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Cordelia graduated from Kenyon College where she majored in English, with a Concentration in Creative Writing. Cordelia was Poet Laureate of Perry County in 2006 & 2007. She has also had nonfiction work appear in Literary Mama. Cordelia has worked with young people for most of her career; with a Masters of Education in Counseling, she has worked as a counselor and teacher and spent ten summers as a camp counselor in Central PA. She teaches writing workshops for children at the Big Blue Marble and loves being surrounded by books and people who love stories and language. Cordelia lives in West Mt. Airy with her husband, Jon, and twin nine-year-olds, Tate and Lily.

Thanks for reading!!! If you're local to the area, please let the bookstore know if you would like to order a copy of Skyscraping. You can also come to Cordelia's Book Launch Party, Saturday, June 6, 7pm, offsite at local used bookstore Mt. Airy Read & Eat! If you can't make the party, you can email orders to orders [at] bigbluemarblebooks [dot] com, call (215) 844-1870, or come see us at 551 Carpenter Lane, in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Jen's Six Exciting New YA Releases!

Sun, 2015-05-24 13:51

Skyscraping by our own Cordelia Jensen  
(forthcoming June 2) 
Join us at the book launch party 
on June 6 at Mt. Airy Read & Eat!)

In NYC in the 1990s, Mira deals with her father's new diagnosis and the way her image of her family has shifted and shattered.

Interview with Cordelia coming to the blog on Tuesday, May 26!


Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

Caden is on a ship, learning the ropes.  Or in his school, as his friends try to reach him.  Or someplace in between.  He's working on trust, and betrayal, and how to manage the images in his mind.

Painless by S.A. Harazin

David cannot feel pain.  His life has been carefully circumscribed to avoid danger ... and he's getting really, really tired of having all his decisions made by other people.  Perhaps it's time for some decisions -- and adventures -- of his own.


None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Kristin has been a perfectly ordinary, cis-gender, popular high school student -- until a gyn. exam reveals her XY chromosomes and intersex status.  And now everything has changed -- though she hasn't really changed at all.

See also Sarah's recent review on the blog!

Bayard Rustin: Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

Fabulous event at the store two weeks ago for this important biography of a leader of the Civil Rights movement who went unrecognized because he was openly gay.  Rustin's (recent and posthumous) Presidential Medal of Freedom was right here at the store!

Bullied Kids Speak Out: We Survived--How You Can Too by Jodee Blanco
A series of powerful testaments from survivors of school (or community) bullying, with commentary from the author, who tours nationally speaking out about bullying and peer abuse.

Jennifer Sheffield, May 2015
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

None of the Above is EVERYTHING!

Sat, 2015-05-16 16:20
None of the Above by I.W. Gregario

I loved everything about reading this book. Something I talk a lot about in relation to (especially) queer/QUILTBAG lit is the way sometimes we sacrifice quality for representation. This is not the case with Gregorio's excellent writing. The author's follow up does a great job in explaining the choices made by the main character and why Kristen makes the choices she does. 

More impressively, the book is well researched and respectful of the diversity of intersex experience. I was concerned that because there are so few intersex characters in contemporary (and especially contemporary YA) lit, that this book might make broad, sweeping gestures about the intersex community. Not at all. In fact, Gregorio goes out of the way to talk about how Kristen's experiences are NOT universal and that there are many different ways in which people relate to their gender. 

I'm missing the most important part here: It's a great freaking book. It's well written and charming and infinitely relatable and the world is a better place for the publication of this rad story.
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

If you read one book this month ...

Fri, 2015-05-15 18:07

A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara ($30, Doubleday)

I don't even know what to say. I loved reading this book so much that I found myself alternately rationing myself out and binging on Yanagihara's beautiful prose. I loved each of the characters so much. They're all really well written and complex. 

I know that this is meant to be a story about four friends, but let's be real: It's Jude. The rest of the characters are told in reference to his character and the slow unraveling of his story. His traumas are horrific, and the scars and lasting injuries they leave him with are significant. But the most brutal part of the things he has lived through is actually the way he has internalized these events. (As a trauma survivor, some of this was uncomfortably familiar to read.) 

The parts that wrecked me most though, were the parts in which the characters reveled their hope and their infinite capacity for love. I feel like i should buy a stack of copies and give them out as gifts. Easily one of the best things I've read this year.

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Big Blue Marble's Picks for Children's Book Week (May 4-10, 2015)

Sun, 2015-05-03 13:05

It's Children's Book Week! And so we offer you new and treasured book recommendations, from picture books to young adult, from graphic novels to verse novels. Come in and check out our offerings!

Among our own events this week are Shabbat Storytime on Friday morning, and an author reading Thursday night for Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist (ages 10 and up).

Check out the CBW website for national events and activities for kids of all ages.

From Elliott:

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies (Candlewick, $6.99)

This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne (Henry Holt, $16.95)

Library Lion by Michelle Knudson (Candlewick, $6.99)

17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offill (Dragonfly Books, $6.99)

Me, All Alone, at the End of the World by M.T. Anderson (Candlewick, $16.99)

From Janet:

Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui (Candlewick, $19.99)

Journey and Quest by Aaron Becker (Candlewick, $15.99)

Three Questions by John Muth (Scholastic, $17.99)

Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans by Kadir Nelson (HarperCollins, $8.99/$19.99)

From Jen:

Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke (First Second, $17.99)

If I Had a Raptor and If I Had a Triceratops by George O'Connor (Candlewick, $15.99)

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (HarperCollins, $17.99)

Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen (Penguin, $17.99) -- coming in June!

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex (Little, Brown, $7.99)

From Mariga:

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak (HarperCollins, $8.99)

El Deafo, Cece Bell (Abrams, $10.95)

The Brides of Rollrock Island, Margo Lanagan (Ember, $9.99)

From Micah (age 4):

Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall (HarperCollins, $17.99)

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak (Penguin Random House, $17.99)

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker (Chronicle, $16.99)

Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night? by Brianna Caplan Sayres (Random House, $7.99)

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard and David Slonim (Random House, $15.99)

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton (Harpercollins, $16.99)

Splash by Ann Jonas (Harpercollins, $6.99)

I Have a Garden and I Planted Cheddarbunnies ...oh, okay, that hasn't been published yet.

From Nif:

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martins Griffin, $18.99)

Penderwicks in Spring Jeanne Birdsall (Random House, $16.99)

Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente (Square Fish, $7.99)

Sleepover with Beatrice & Bear by Mônica Carnesi (Penguin, $15.99)

The Martian by Andy Weir (Random House, $15.00)

Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee (Simon & Schuster, $17.99)

From Sarah:

Lumberjanes Volume 1 by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis (Boom!, $14.99)

The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santant (Little, Brown, $17.00)

Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke (First Second, $17.99)

Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty (Abrams, $16.95)

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke (Scholastic, $8.99)

From Sheila:

Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (Square Fish, $8.99)

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Random House, $10.99)

Sabriel by Garth Nix (HarperCollins, $9.99)

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede (Scholastic, $9.99)

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (HarperCollins, $6.99)

From Tiara:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (Scholastic, $12.99/$10.99)

Other HP favorites: The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Order of the Phoenix

Paper Towns by John Green (Speak, $9.99)

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett (Atheneum, $6.99)

A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (Seven Stories Press, $9.99)
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Five Books Janet Wants to Own This Spring

Thu, 2015-04-30 17:07
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Random House, $15.00)
Harold Frye receives a letter from Miss Queenie, who he has not heard from since they worked together more than twenty years ago. She is in a hospice on the northern tip of England. Harold is convinced that walking the length of England will keep her alive.

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce (Random House $25.00)
Waiting for Harold, Miss Queenie "writes" her story, revealing the secrets and the shame that have created the distances between her and her life.

Small Space Container Gardens by Fern Richardson (Timber Press, $19.95)
Even a tiny house with a postage size yard can be made into an alluring site of colors, smells, and edibles.

Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein (Candlewick Press, $19.99)
This is a children's book so beautifully and simply illustrated that it belongs out on the coffee table. An egg becomes a chicken. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly. A calf becomes a cow, and what else?

Poems to Learn by Heart, compiled by Caroline Kennedy with paintings by Jon J. Muth (Hyperion Books, $19.99)
A collection of classic poetry for children, beautifully illustrated with Jon Muth's watercolor paintings.

Janet Elfant, April 2015
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Mt. Airy Kids' Literary Festival 2015 -- April 23-26

Thu, 2015-04-23 12:01
The 9th Annual Mt. Airy Kids' Literary Festival -- four days of authors, illustrators, games, parades, parties, music, and more -- begins tonight, Thursday, April 23!

Schedule and event information:
- Festival schedule on our website (and summarized below).
- Facebook festival event page.
- Link to the bookstore's listing of events on Facebook, which includes most (though not all) of the festival's individual events.
- Link to our most recent events newsletter.

Interviews here on the blog with two of the attending authors:
- Amy Ignatow, author of The Popularity Papers
- Elisa Ludwig, author of Pretty Crooked.

Festival Schedule Summary:

All Weekend
Special Door Prizes! Winners will be randomly selected throughout the entire weekend to win free books, promotional goodies, and more. Stop by with your family and get a chance to go home with all kinds of special treats.

Thursday, April 23
7:00pm - Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion with Jen Sheffield.
An open discussion group for adults who read YA and teens who like to talk about books.
April's book: the verse novel Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate.
We'll be joined by a special guest, former staffer and Writer-in-Residence Cordelia Jensen, whose own YA verse novel, Skyscraping, will be coming out at the beginning of June!

Friday, April 24
11:00am - Festival Storytime. Led by Monique Curry, author of In My Eyes.
(Ages infant-4)

6:30pm - Family Book Party! Music with Ecoman, pizza, fun and games, and bedtime stories!
(All ages)

Saturday, April 25
11:00am - Picture Book Celebration.
(Ages 2-6)
  • Monica Carnesi, author of Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear
  • Polly Kanevsky, author of Here is the Baby, Sleepy Boy
  • Valerie Lang, author of Andy Takes Action

1:00pm - Middle Grade Author Panel.
A free-ranging discussion of middle-grade books and audiences!
(Ages 8-12)
  • Amy Ignatow, author of The Popularity Papers
  • Andy Myer, author of Henry Hubble's Book of Troubles

2:00pm - Mad Lib Treasure Hunt!
Led by Cordelia Jensen and kids from the Mt. Airy Musers writing community.
(Ages 8 and up)

3:00pm - Same Family, Different Colors. Join Tanya Hutchins, author of Born Beautiful Biracial: A Compilation of Children's Essays, and Mt. Airy author Lori Tharps, creator of ?RU! t-shirts (for sale in the bookstore!), as they lead a discussion with kids and parents on living in multi-racial families and answering the question "What are you?"
(Ages 6 and up)

7:00pm - Harry Potter Trivia Contest! Bring It On, Wizards and Muggles!
(Ages 8 and up)

Sunday, April 26
10:30am - Music with EcoMan.
(Ages 2-6)

11:00am - Picture Books!
(Ages 3-8)
  • Artie Bennett, author of Belches, Burps, and Farts - Oh My!
  • Nancy Viau, author of City Street Beat
  • Alison Ashley Formento, author of These Rocks Count
  • Jonathan Needham, author of Meet My Fantastic Friend Floyd

1:00pm - Magical Creature Costume Parade for Kids, Adults, and Pets.

1:00pm - The YA World, featuring six young adult authors!
(Ages 12 and up)
  • Heather Anne, author of Escaping Wonderland
  • Elisa Ludwig, author of Pretty Crooked Trilogy
  • April Lidner, author of Love, Lucy
  • Mya Kay, author of A Song for Jordan
  • Victoria Leese, author of Invisible Stardom
  • Alison Ashley Formento, author of Twigs

Hope to see you this weekend!
Categories: Bookstore Blogs

Novel Journals!

Sat, 2015-04-11 11:44

Are you an aspiring writer? Having trouble getting started? Need inspiration? Then you need A Novel Journal! Big Blue Marble Bookstore has a variety of these marvelous journals, where the blank pages are actually lined (in tiny text) with lines from famous novels. Write between the lines of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens, absorb the genius of Charlotte Bronte as you journal your thoughts and dreams!

Each journal is a different novel. Don't see your favorite author? We can order it! Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, the brothers Grimm all await your pen.

Categories: Bookstore Blogs

A Month Full of Events for National Poetry Month!

Thu, 2015-04-02 11:56
Along with our 2nd annual Peeps Diorama Contest, coming up on Sunday, and our 9th annual Mt. Airy Kids' Literary Festival later in the month, we have LOTS of poetry events for you this April. For more details, visit our website's Events page.

Wednesday, April 1, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Three Humorous Poets on April Fool's Day.

Hal Sirowitz, Amy Barone, and Ron Kolm, all known for injecting humor and candor into their poetry and story-telling, will entertain guests at the Big Blue Marble Bookstore on April 1.

Wednesday, April 8, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Red Dashboard Press Reading Series.

Elizabeth Aiken Stelling, editor of Red Dashboard Press, brings friends Marion Deutsche Cohen and Barry Gross for a great evening of poetry to Big Blue Marble.

Thursday, April 9, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
The Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series presents Michele Belluomini (originally scheduled for January).

The Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002) is a nurturing environment that celebrates women in the craft of multi-genre writing.

Friday, April 10, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Back to Its Roots: Poetry as Music with the bands Words In Flight, SHEEP, and Attractive Nuisance.

Join us as we welcome three area acoustic bands driven by the power of poetical lyrics.

Thursday, April 16, 7:00-9:00pm. ***Date change from April 9.***
The Art of Craft: A series of craft classes for poets, poetry fans, and writing teachers.

First of six sessions, though you can sign up for them separately.

Thursday, April 16, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Poetry with Elvis Alves & Bernadette McBride.

Join us for an evening of two, very different, rich poetic voices. Elvis Alves just moved to the Philadelphia area from Brooklyn; Bernadette McBride is the director of the Poets Reading Series at Farley's, our sister independent Bookshop in New Hope, PA.

Friday, April 17.       National Poetry Month Event
Poetry event, details to come.

Saturday, April 18, 4:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Book launch with Barbara Crooker for her two new books, Small Rain and Selected Poems .

Saturday, April 18, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Book & Arts Press Reading with Liz Chang, Helen Mirkel, and Amy Small-McKinney.

Sunday, April 19, 4:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Four Poets: Facets of Their Jewish Journeys, with B.E. Kahn, Hal Sirowitz, Hila Ratzabi, and Cathleen Cohen.

Thursday, April 23, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Big Blue Young Adult Book Discussion with Jen Sheffield.

Opening event of the Kids' Literary Festival! An open discussion group for adults who read YA and teens who like to talk about books. April's book: The verse novel Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate.

Wednesday, April 29, 7:00pm.       National Poetry Month Event
Poetry Liberation Front with Sekai, Jennifer Hook, Fran Gilmore, Janet Fishman, Alina Macneal, and Cassie MacDonald.

Categories: Bookstore Blogs


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