Weird Stories from the Lonesome Cafe

Fall 2013

Coming soon--Ukulele Hayley!

Chicago Public Library Best of the Best list 2012

Oregon Book Awards 2012

Ukulele Lady

Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011

200,000 people attended the National Book Festival.

Each state had a table at the Pavilion of States. Look closely, and you'll see CARMEN LEARNS ENGLISH.

Everyone got a map. Kids took the maps to each state's table to get it stamped. I helped stamp using Oregon's Ramona Quimby stamp (because Beverly Cleary is an Oregon author.)

We saw Giant Pandas at the National Zoo in Washington, D. C.

After visiting Washington, D. C. we took the train back to Portland, Oregon--from sea to shining sea!

After three days on the train, I look a little bit tired. But happy!

Move over Rock Bottom Remainders! Here comes "Banned"! From left to right: Neysa, Monelle, Michelle, Judy (not pictured: Docena, Lucinda)

Keynote address at SCBWI--Southern Idaho/Northern Utah April 2011

Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011

Prince George, B. C. gets a lot of snow!

Fleur in Aberglen Castle (Div. 6 Highglen Elementary)

At Heather Park Elementary with Ishbu the rat puppet.

Frederick and Ishbu's first adventure!

The second book in The Tails of Frederick and Ishbu

Summer Reading

Word by Word

My Favorite Christmas Books

December 24, 2010

Tags: christmas, children's books

Every year on December 1st, we haul out two boxes of Christmas books. It became a tradition, mostly started as a way to help temper my son's excitement and let it build more slowly. I still get the books out on Dec. 1st, even though my son is now in college.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite Christmas books. Most of them are for children, but not all:

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
A Christmas classic picture book. So much better than the movie. I hang silver jingle bells on the tree every year.

On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown
I am so glad this was reprinted with new illustrations. The text captures both the shivers of excitement and the peacefulness of Christmas Eve.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
A classic on the true meaning of Christmas. Read the book, then watch the cartoon narrated by Boris Karloff. Don't bother with the movie.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
This gentle wordless picture book was made into an animated short movie some time ago. The movie is worth seeing and has an exceptionally beautiful score.

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies
The best movie version is the 1940's black and white movie with Maureen O'Hara. This book came after the movie, in an unusual switch. I have the version illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
A seasonal sequel to The Jolly Postman, with letters and games that actually pull out of the book.

The Christmas Alphabet by Robert Sabuda
My favorite of the pop-up book artist's Christmas titles. All the pop-ups are in white, on colored background.

Peter Spier's Christmas by Peter Spier
If I could choose only one Christmas book to read every year, this would be it. It's a wordless book, a simple story of a family getting ready for Christmas. For me, the magic is in the fact that the book ends--not on Christmas day, with gift giving--but in undecorating, taking out the trash and the tree, returning items, and the sense that Christmas will come again next year. There's something incredibly reassuring about that--things don't have to be perfect! I get another shot at it next year!

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas by Russell Hoban
This is a wonderful book to read aloud. Jim Henson made a muppet-style movie of the book, which I enjoy. But the book is better. Maybe because I'm a musician, I really appreciate the musical context.

Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge
This is a book for adults, set in England following World War II. It's not primarily a Christmas book, but the end scenes take place in an old inn, at Christmas. The author's descriptions are incredibly visual.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Another book that is not primarily a Christmas book, but has a wonderfully Christmasy scene in it. And who doesn't love Mole, Rat, and Toad?

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Always winter, and NEVER Christmas? The spell is broken when Father Christmas arrives.

Santa Calls by William Joyce
The pictures of the North Pole are outstanding in this humorous adventure book set in a fictional 1908 time period. Think of old adventure movie sequels.

It's a Wonderful Christmas by Susan Waggoner
A non-fiction book for Baby Boomers. The subtitle is "The Best of the Holidays 1940--1965. Tons of photos and old ads.

That's my list. Have a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year!

Selected Works

Picture Book
Animal Adventure
A stand-alone companion volume to "The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot" and "The Case of the Purloined Professor" also by Judy Cox.
Award
Bank Street College of Education Best Books 2014
New Books
Join Mouse on his fourth adventure--a romp in the snow!
Mrs. Millie's Kindergartners surprise her with a pun-filled birthday party!
Mouse is back in a Halloween adventure.
Nora's rowdy cousin from Texas is coming to stay. Is Ellie as bad as Nora remembers? Junior Library Guild Selection
Award Winners
Oregon Spirit Award
Bank Street College of Education, Best Books of 2011
Bank Street College of Education Best Books of 2011
TIME magazine Best Children's Books of 2009
Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award 2009
Children's Choices list 2009
TIME magazine Best Children's Books of 2005
Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award 2004
Nevada Young Readers Award 2002