New Titles for April

New Arrivals for April

Click & see: Book Beat April Author Events

Book Beat Reading Group Title for April

There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales (Paperback) Masterworks of economy and acuity, these brief, trenchant tales by Russian author and playwright Petrushevskaya, selected from her wide-ranging but little translated oeuvre over the past 30 years, offer an enticement to English readers to seek out more of her writing. The tales explore the inexplicable workings of fate, the supernatural, grief and madness, and range from adroit, straightforward narratives to bleak fantasy.

The Book Beat reading group meets the last Wednesday of every month. Our next meeting is Wednesday, April 28th at 7:00 PM at the Goldfish Teahouse, 117 W. Fourth Street  in Royal Oak.  Meetings are free and open to the public. Please call 248-968-1190 for more information.

Book club books are discounted 15% at Book Bear

Baseball Season Begins Now! Autographed Copies Available:

Baseball From A to Z (Hardcover) Learning about baseball has never been so much fun! From a pitching Ace to a baseball from a to z strike Zone, this energetic alphabet book covers all the bases of America’s favorite pastime. Lively, action-packed illustrations will take readers right into the stands to root, root, root for the home team. So put on your favorite team Jersey and get ready for the Ballpark . . . because Baseball from A to Z is one Home run you don’t want to miss.

Earth Day is April 22nd

Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep us Safe Organic matters, to all of us. Red state, blue state, churchgoer or atheist, soccer mom or single bachelor, what our society does to the soil (or allows to be done to it) directly affects our health.

Sure, eating organic has long been a battle cry of environmentalists trying to protect the land, but as more and more science is telling us, we need to eat organic to save ourselves. As Maria Rodale, CEO of Rodale Inc. and author of the new book Organic Manifesto, points out, “the planet will be fine without us.” We’re the ones in trouble if things don’t change.

Tracking Trash; Flotsam Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion When hundreds of Nike sneakers washed ashore in Seattle, Washington, in 1990, Dr. Curt Ebbesmeyer’s career in tracking trash began. His mother, a Seattle resident, figured Curt would be able to determine the origin of the shoes, since he studied ocean movements for a living. The curious landfall perplexed many, but after several months of research, Dr. Ebbesmeyer pinpointed the source from which the sneakers came.

One Child, One Planet: Inspiration for a the Young Conservationist “Earth, so big, and me, so small – Oh, what good can I do?” Funny you should ask, my child. The world’s been waiting for you!

Children of all ages will be captivated by this loving tribute to Mother Earth, her gifts and her greatest concerns. Young or old, everyone’s actions make a difference. Loose-rhyming text and awe-inspiring photography are woven into a family treasure that will create excitement and responsibility toward the planet.

Ages 4-8

The Smash Smash Truck: Recycling As You’ve Never Heard it Before What self-respecting glass bottle would want to be trapped in a trash dump for hundreds of thousands of years, when it could be transformed over and over again into new and exciting containers? Luckily, the Smash! Smash! Truck is on hand to speed up the recycling process, making things go round faster. Professor Potts takes us all the way back to the Big Bang to look at how the earth naturally recycles its resources and ends with a series of glorious smashes as a modern recycling truck is loaded and unloaded.

If I Had a Hammer: Building Homes and Hope With Habitat for Humanity President Jimmy Carter’s compelling anecdotes inspire a personal look at Habitat for Humanity that is sure to fire up a younger generation.

Somewhere in West Virginia, a thirteen-year-old girl now invites friends home without embarrassment. In a Brazilian village, children no longer sleep beneath a table when the heavy rains come. For a quarter-century in nearly ninety countries, Habitat for Humanity has built homes with and for the people who need them, aided by more than a million multigenerational volunteers. Two of the most devoted are former president Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn — and now this captivating account, abundantly illustrated with photos, relays their favorite stories with special resonance for young readers.

Save the Frogs Day and Arbor Day is April 30th!

The Mud Fairy Autographed For all those fans of Princess Smartypants -or for any little girl going through a fairy-princess obsessive phase-comes a playful story about a fairy who’s just fine being herself.

Wearing pink and tiptoing through the dewdrops is for wimps! Emmelina would rather play with her friends, the FROGS. But can a fairy with an independent streak earn her wings if she goes against the fairy code? Warm, humorous, and with just the right amount of pink (and mud), here’s a book that will capture the hearts of girly-girls and tomboys alike.

Place for Frogs In this simple introduction to frogs and ecology, Melissa Stewart shares with young readers the behavior and beauty of frogs and describes specific ways people can help protect them and their natural habitats.

Children learn basic facts about frogs, including where they live, what they eat, and how they benefit plants and other animals. Sidebars throughout the book contain information on how human action has harmed frogs and the many ways people can protect certain frog populations, such as by preserving wetlands and cutting down on pesticide use. Pointers on how youngsters can help frogs in their own neighborhood are also included. Ages 4-8

Alego t’s almost time for supper, and Alego goes with her grandmother to the shore to collect clams. Along the way, the girl discovers tide pools brimming with life — a bright orange starfish, a creepy crawly ugjurnaq, sea snails, and a sculpin. A rising star of the famed Cape Breton Inuit art scene, author and illustrator Ningeokuluk Teevee draws on her own childhood experiences in the Arctic for this enchanting introduction to the life of an Inuit girl and her world. Printed in both Inuktitut and English, the book includes an illustrated glossary of the sea creatures in the story as well as a map of Baffin Island.

Perfect for Arbor Day April 30th: & illustrated by local Artist Cyd Moore!

Arbor Day Square (Hardcover) Katie and her papa are among a group of settlers building a town in the middle of the dusty, brown prairie. Every week the trains bring more people and more lumber to build houses, fences, and barns. New buildings are erected: a church with a steeple, a store with glass windows, even a schoolhouse with desks for seventeen children.

But one thing is missing: trees.

When the townspeople take up a collection to order trees from back east Katie adds her own pennies and Papa’s silver dollar. When the tiny saplings finally arrive, Katie helps dig holes and fetch water. Then, in a quiet corner off the public square, Katie and Papa plant a flowering dogwood in memory of Mama.

Although set in the past, Kathryn O. Galbraith’s gentle story of community building, the timelessness of love, and the power of ritual will resonate with young readers today. Cyd Moore’s full-color illustrations reflect the simplicity of the story and life in a new prairie town, while evoking the complexity of its themes.

“An attractive introduction to the celebration of Arbor Day.”


“Moore’s gentle pencil and watercolors lend a classic “storybook” feel to the story…”


Poetrees This book is ripe with poetrees, They’re grown to educate and please.

You’ll see a cedar.

Oak tree too.

Birch and banyan,

Pine and yew.

Palm and gum

And willow tree,

Plus more you’ll love tree-mendously!

Ages 6 and up

Starting with the book’s title and ending with a final “glossatree,” the wordplay in Florian’s latest poetry collection provides plenty of fun. Each of the 18 poems celebrates the wonder of trees, from the giant sequoia (the world’s tallest trees) and the Banyan (“an acre in its canopy “) to the bristlecone pine, one of the oldest trees on earth (alive “for fifty cen-trees”). Each poem is printed on a vertical double-page spread illustrated with mixed-media artwork in gouache, watercolor, colored pencil, rubber stamps, oil pastels, and collage on brown paper bags. The dramatic swirling visuals sometimes swamp the words, but the blurry images do leave room for kids to use their imaginations as they interpret the words. The big pages are well suited for group sharing, as are the playful puns (“Lovely leaves / Leave me in awe”). The final fascinating notes on each tree, and on leaves, stems, and roots, spell out the call for conservation that is part of the poetry and pictures. —  BOOKLIST

April is National Poetry  Month

Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty Give me your tired, your poor Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free… Who wrote these words? And why?

In 1883, Emma Lazarus, deeply moved by an influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe, wrote a sonnet that was to give voice to the Statue of Liberty. Originally a gift from France to celebrate our shared national struggles for liberty, the Statue, thanks to Emma’s poem, slowly came to shape our hearts, defining us as a nation that welcomes and gives refuge to those who come to our shores. Ages 4-8 years

Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25 One poet describes a meditative moment with her cat that “destroys all my knitting to teach me about impermanence.” Another prays for a soldier, a “ kindergarten best friend” who has returned from Baghdad. In several selections, immigrants remember their arrival in the U.S. In a brief, appended biography, one poet describes her draw to poetry: “Unresolved, uncomfortable, and sometimes repulsive moments of memory can be made somehow graceful through writing.” Teens will connect with the passionate, unmoderated feelings that are given clarity and shape in each poem. Grades 7-12. –Hazel Rochman,  Booklist

Radical New Poem Book of Reversible Verse

Mirror Mirror What’s brewing when two favorites—poetry and fairy tales—are turned (literally) on their heads? It’s a revolutionary recipe: an infectious new genre of poetry and a lovably modern take on classic stories.

“This appealing collection based on fairy tales is a marvel to read. It is particularly noteworthy because the poems are read in two ways: up and down. They are reverse images of themselves and work equally well in both directions. “Mirror Mirror” is chilling in that Snow White, who is looking after the Seven Dwarves, narrates the first poem of the pair. Read in reverse, it is the wicked queen who is enticing Snow White to eat the apple that will put her to sleep forever.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Books for Middle School Ages 11+

FDR’s Alphabet Soup; New Deal America, 1932-1939 During Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office, when he unveiled his New Deal to combat the Great Depression, his plans met with both skepticism and support. The years-long programs were broadly aimed at helping the country make an economic comeback, as FDR sought to create a government that was activley concerned with the common good of the people and would lend a helping hand to those willing to take on hard work. FDR’s porgrams and the agencies that implemented them, known by their initials and collectively referred to as Alphabet Soup, laid the foundation for many programs that are stil in operation today.

The Clone Codes The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Ages 9+

The McKissacks’ slight story for younger readers packs a great deal of messaging, which will no doubt prove useful in classroom discussions of issues and themes but sometimes comes at the expense of the story. The science-fiction backdrop serves as a framework for issues of identity and societal prejudice but is not predominant in the reading experience. Grades 4-7. –Holly Koelling, Booklist

Inspiration For the Aspiring Young Writer:

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook Practical advice in a perfect package for young aspiring writers. After receiving letters from fans asking for writing advice, accomplished authors Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter joined together to create this guidebook for young writers. The authors—along with award winning illustrator Matt Phelan, mix inspirational anecdotes with practical guidance on how to find a voice, develop characters and plot,make revisions, and overcome writer’s block. Fun writing prompts will help young writers jump-start their own projects, and encouragement throughout will keep them at work. Ages 9-12

Beautiful New Picture Books

A Song for Jamela The summer holidays are here, and Jamela is as bored as a girlcan be! All she can think about is the Afro-Idols TV final – so when she lands a job at Divine Braids hair salon, she can’t believe her eyes at the arrival of glamorous Afro-Idols celebrity Miss Chaka Chaka. But while Jamela’s idol dozes and Aunt Beauty designs her starry hairdo, a buzzy fly appears on the scene and threatens to ruin everything… Can creative Jamela save the day?  Ages 4-7

Niki Daly has won many awards for his exuberant work. His groundbreaking Not So fast Songololo (1986), winner of a U.S Parent’s Choice Award, paved the way for post-apartheid South African children’s books.

LMNO Peas Meet the peas – the alphabet peas!

And get ready to roll through the ABCs.

Ages 3-7

Humble green peas provide inspiration in this hilarious, occupation-based romp through the alphabet. Four-inch-high letters on each page serve as an ingenious architectural platform around, above, and inside of which dozens of “pea-ple” swarm in joyful pursuit of myriad types of work. Bouncy, rhyming text introduces the alphabet peas as “acrobats, artists, and astronauts in space, builders, bathers, and bikers in a race,” with unpaid “voters and volunteers” receiving their due, too. Baker’s inventive details belie the “as alike as two peas in a pod” adage; each and every amusing personalized pea is as unique as a snowflake—and that’s the point. The digitally rendered illustrations glow in vibrant, textured colors that boldly leap off the page against a background of ample white space. The sheer fun of the rhythmic text and the large alphabet letters work well for a read-aloud audience, but the busy, engaging details of the peas in their various worker modes are better suited for one-on-one exploration that young children will want to pore over again and again. – Booklist

Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse In Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse, Nellie Sue does everything with a western flair. Whether it is cleaning up the animal sty (picking up her stuffed animals) or rounding up cattle (getting the neighborhood kids together for her birthday party), she does it like a true cowgirl. All she really needs is a horse. So when Dad announces at her birthday party, “I got a horse right here for you,” Nellie Sue is excited. But when her horse turns out to be her first bicycle, it will take an imagination as big as Texas to help save the day.  Ages 3-5

Autographed copies of Sweets still available!

SWEETS AND OTHER STORIES by ANDRE WILLIAMS The first fiction effort from Andre Williams! Sweets is a narrative which takes you for a wild ride from Chicago to Houston, New Orleans, and New York City, as a teenage girl finds herself in a family way, without a family. Forced to fend for herself, she is taken under the wing of a local pimp who entices her into prostitution. The adventures that follow are a free-for-all foray through the fantastic world of pimps and their women, funeral directors, gangs and drug running, with sidebar anecdotes that are guaranteed to appall, alarm and astonish. Extreme entries remain unedited, and none of Williams’ raw drawl storytelling style has been tampered with in this standout fiction debut. (if ordering online, please request a signed copy).

Radical Art World Drop-out

Transiting Pop art, Feminist Expressionism, Conceptualism and Minimalism, Lee Lozano (1930–1999) sits alongside Eva Hesse and Hannah Wilke as a radical and influential model for younger generations of female artists. Lozano’s notebooks, which she approached as drawings, and which were later dismantled and sold as individual pages, became a part of her artmaking at the height of her fame in the late 1960s.

Rare Reprint of  Judo Book by Artist Yves Klien

The Foundations of Judo In 1952 the 24-year-old Yves Klein left Paris for Japan, to pursue his first love; not art but judo. After becoming one of very few Europeans to receive a coveted 4th dan black belt from the Kodokan in Tokyo, Klein returned to France and opened the Judo Académie de Paris. In 1954 the prestigious firm of Grasset published his book Les Fondements du Judo, illustrated with hundreds of photographs of Klein and the leading Japanese teachers demonstrating the six major Kata of judo.

Now this extraordinary work has finally been translated into English. Limited edition of 1500 copies!

A Collection of Classic Wordless Novels

Wordless Books “Wordless books” were stories from the early part of the twentieth century told in black and white woodcuts, imaginatively authored without any text. Although woodcut novels have their roots spreading back through the history of graphic arts, including block books and playing cards, it was not until the early part of the twentieth century that they were conceived and published. Despite its short-lived popularity, the woodcut novel had an important impact on the development of comic art, particularly contemporary graphic novels with a focus on adult themes. Scholar David A. Beronä examines the history of these books and the art and influence of pioneers like Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Otto Nückel, William Gropper, Milt Gross, and Laurence Hyde (among others). The images are powerful and iconic, and as relevant to the world today as they were when they were first produced. Beronä places these artists in the context of their time, and in the context of ours, creating a scholarly work of important significance in the burgeoning field of comics and comics history.

Strange Sounds: Vocoder & Toy Instruments

Listen to the TRUE STORY OF THE VOCORDER review on npr radio, the coolest!

How to Wreck a Nice Beach The history of the vocoder: how popular music hijacked the Pentagon’s speech scrambling weapon This is the story of how a military device became the robot voice of hip-hop and pop music. Though the vocoder, invented by Bell Labs in 1928, was designed to guard phones from eavesdroppers, it expanded beyond its original purpose and has since become widely used as a voice-altering tool for musicians. It has served both the Pentagon and the roller rink, a double agent of pop and espionage. In How to Wreck a Nice Beach—from a mis-hearing of the vocoder-rendered phrase “how to recognize speech”—music journalist Dave Tompkins traces the history of electronic voices from Nazi research labs to Stalin’s gulags, from the 1939 World’s Fair to Hiroshima, from Manhattan nightclubs to the Muppets.

Toy Instruments Toy Instruments comprises an eye-popping collection of musical toys made between the 1950s and 1990s. Created to excite children about learning how to play an instrument, it turns out that adults also had fun with these products. Just ask David Bowie; he used the Stylophone in his song “Space Oddity.” Culled from the author’s personal collection, Toy Instruments explores this niche of the toy industry, doing so with an informative and humorous approach that demonstrates how even in today’s world of Guitar Hero and Wii, these musical toys are emblematic, and enigmatic, artifacts from bygone eras. As DJ Spooky writes in his introduction, “I think of the material that Eric Schneider has compiled as a kind of ‘object’ time machine, reaching back to the heart of what electronic music represented when it was new.”

Quality New Fiction

“Little Bee” deserves a warning label: “Do not judge this book by its cover. Contents under pressure.” Despite the cutesy title (the book was more sensibly published in Britain as “The Other Hand”) and the coy book-flap description (“It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it”), “Little Bee” will blow you away. – full review source: Washington Post

Chris Cleave’s Little Bee works because the unflinching, brutal story balances an outwardly political motive with rich, deep character development (and even some welcome humor), focusing narrowly on events before broadening to reveal some larger truths. Cleave’s firm grasp of human nature and his unsparing disdain for injustice allow him to articulate lives as different as those of Little Bee and the less-likeable Sarah; both characters, though, are unforgettable. Comparisons between Cleave and fellow Brits Ian McEwan and John Banville are apt. – Booklist

New Translation of a Japanese Classic

KOKORO No collection of Japanese literature is complete without Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, his most famous novel and the last he complete before his death. Published here in the first new translation in more than fifty years, Kokoro–meaning “heart”-is the story of a subtle and poignant friendship between two unnamed characters, a young man and an enigmatic elder whom he calls “Sensei”.


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