Video: ‘Rhino in the House’

In this new video, Daniel Kirk provides the background for his new biographical picture book, Rhino in the HouseIt’s about the true story of rhino champion Anna Merz and the black rhinoceros Samia. The release date is March 17, 2017, and a portion of the proceed will be donated to the Lewa Downs Conservancy.

For more information, Kirk has a pretty comprehensive website. And if you’d like to share the video, here’s the embed code:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Cioran-uary at Seminary Co-op

Cioran-uary at Seminary Co-op

I love reading bookstore newsletters and discovering unique promotions that you create. One that recently piqued my interest is Seminary Co-op Bookstores “Cioran-uary” promotion, which features one quote from Emil Cioran every day throughout the month.

Marketing manager Alex Houston explained to me that this is in fact their third year of Aphoristic Januaries.

“With the expansion of our marketing department beginning in 2014, and in recognition of our customers’ (near and far) appreciation of quirky, esoteric, and unexpected things, we decided to try a ‘Lichtenberg Appreciation Month’ in January 2015,” she said.

Every day that month, one aphorism from Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s Waste Books was posted across their social media accounts.

“Aphorisms fit nicely into the social media format, while also overcoming it. They’re brief in terms of character count, but contain a great deal of wisdom–often not the case on social media!” she said.

Both the book and the execution of the promotion were well received, so Houston said they turned it into an annual tradition, featuring an aphorist each year since.

“Last year we highlighted Joseph Joubert’s Notebooks (Joubertuary, we called it), and this year we’re doing Cioran’s whole oeuvre (Cioranuary),” she said.

They’ve used the same marketing formula each year: a quote in the weekly newsletter, social media posts, and in-store display; and Houston said that every year they gain more followers and subscribers.

“It’s actually one of several ‘traditions’ we’ve started over the last few years–in February, we highlight a major piece by Theodor Adorno (Adorno-a-Day) and in July we highlight the Library of America–and people seem to enjoy the continuity, focus, and daily bits of wisdom each one provides,” she said.

U.S. Poet Laureates and Their Presidents

Whether you want to highlight President’s Day or plan ahead for Poetry Month, just published an article + an embeddable infographic highlighting all of the U.S. Poet Laureates and the presidents they serve under.

“The Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, as they’re formally known, is appointed by the Librarian of Congress for a one year term, serving from October to May,” says Danielle Mohlman in the article. “It’s fairly common, however, for the Librarian of Congress to renew a Poet Laureate’s term for an additional year, if the Librarian feels strongly that the poet has raised the national consciousness around the idea of a greater appreciation of reading and writing poetry.”

The timeline infographic includes the 51 poets that held the position since 1937 and the U.S. President (in office at the time), from Joseph Auslander and Roosevelt, to Juan Felipe Herrera and Trump. The article also highlights 7 women poet laureates.

Find both the article and the embeddable infographic here.

US Poet Laureates and the Presidents They Served Under
US Poet Laureates and the Presidents They Served Under, by My Poetic Side

Review (Plus): ‘Simon Thorn and the Viper’s Pit’

SimonThornViperPit9781619637153_26b6cI love finding a strong male protagonist in a middle grade series! Aimee Carter has followed through on her promise with the second book in her Simon Thorn series, Simon Thorn and the Viper’s Pit. Simon Thorn is a boy who struggles with his identity, his emotions, and the sense of belonging. He has just discovered that he is an Animalgam. He has the ability to change from a person into a golden eagle, making him heir to the Bird Kingdom. Simon also discovers he has a twin brother who can shape-shift into any animal he chooses, thus making him the Beast King. Simon eventually learns that he too can transform himself into any animal in the kingdom. Can there be two Beast Kings in the same family?

Before he can deal with that, Simon discovers a postcard from his kidnapped mother, and he knows he must go to her. Simon calls upon his friends from the first book in the series, and we are reunited with Ariana, Jam, and Winter once again. Each brings a special talent with them on the adventure. We also meet new Animalgams who increase the excitement and add multiple plot twists.

Simon, along with his readers, continues to learn new personality traits he possesses. It is this ability to relate to his audience which makes reading The Viper’s Pit thoroughly entertaining. Simon doesn’t know what is going to happen, and the question of “What will happen to me when I am caught?” is always foremost in his mind– again, like the young readers of this series.

Not all questions are answered, and Simon must deal with the secret he carries into the third installment. For my part, I can’t help but tweet, “When will we get the next book, @aimee_carter?”

In the Classroom:
For those schools who do AR, order a test for the Simon Thorn series–it is a wonderful investment to encourage your students to read more than just one book. This is a series to entice young readers, offering adventure and fantasy. Simon Thorn and the Viper’s Pit is one to recommend and be guaranteed you won’t be wrong.

Simon Thorn and the Viper’s Pit by Aimee Carter (Bloomsbury USA Childrens | 9781619637153 | February 7, 2017)

Valentine’s Display (sort of)

Valentine’s Display (sort of)

Valentine’s Day isn’t all roses and chocolates for a lot of people. Which is probably why I love this display from The Book Table in Oak Park, IL.

Named “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: Tales of Love Gone Awry,” the display features titles that… well, don’t expect to see them on the Chick Lit reading list. Here’s a sample of titles:

  • 13 of the Worst Breakups in History
  • The End of Alice
  • We Were Liars
  • Gone Girl
  • Someone Please Have Sex with Me

The display was a group effort, says store manager Javier Ramirez. And many of the staff recommendations are complemented with shelf-talkers, which is helpful… because I kind of want to send them some chocolate.