Sunday, October 24, 2010

Announcing Grow Up With Books (GUWB) Kindle Raffle.  Winning a Kindle could never be easier.  Simply sign up as a member to GUWB, purchase, a book through GUWB (you don't have to be a member to do this), or simply refer-a-friend that becomes a member and you will be automatically entered into our Kindle raffle!  Due date to be entered is 12/1/10 with the winner announced on 12/3/10.

The winner will be announced (if he/she chooses to be) and the Kindle will be shipped immediately.  What a great gift as a thank you for using our service!  Keep it for yourself or give it away as a holiday gift.

Check out the Kindle details:
All-New, High-Contrast E Ink Screen – 50% better contrast
Read in Bright Sunlight – No glare
New and Improved Fonts – New crisper, darker fonts
New Sleek Design – 21% smaller body while keeping the same 6" size reading area
17% Lighter – Only 8.5 ounces, weighs less than a paperback
Battery Life of Up to One Month – A single charge lasts up to one month with wireless off
Double the Storage – Up to 3,500 books
Built-In Wi-Fi – Shop and download books in less than 60 seconds
20% Faster Page Turns – Seamless reading
Enhanced PDF Reader – With dictionary lookup, notes, and highlights
New WebKit-Based Browser – Browse the web over Wi-Fi (experimental)

Visit our website at Grow Up With Books to subscribe, get your books, or even refer-a-friend.  :-)

Best of luck,
The GUWB Team

Saturday, September 18, 2010

National Punctuation Day!

Mark your calendars for September 24th as it's not too late to make plans for National Punctuation Day!   Moira Rose Donohue has additional ideas for ways to celebrate and be sure to check out her books at GUWB.

To kick-off your celebration, why not share this Skype experience of Ms. Donohue showing some personality behind some common punctuation marks.  Check out the Queen of Punctuation at her best.

Donohue's Penny and the Puntuation Bee as well as Alfie the Apostrophe are perfect books to add to your National Punctuation Day celebration.  To find out more about GUWB's inside scoop on these books as well as the author, check out "The Story Behind the Story--Moira Rose Donohue."

It's not too late to book Ms. Donohue for a school visit!  She's got some wonderful ways to get the kids excited about reading and writing.  

PFPT, GUG, and BOING to you all!
The GUWB Team

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bats in the Air, Bats in My Hair

Bats? In my hair? That's right! At the Virginia Festival of the Book held in March, 2010, Grow Up with Books team members had the opportunity to meet a local author of children's books. Martha Hamlett of Lynchburg, Virginia wrote and published Bats in the Air, Bats in My Hair and has visited many schools and bookstores in Virginia to read her story and talk with kids about writing and publishing. Martha has written poems and stories for many years and used an event from her own childhood to create the story Bats in the Air, Bats in My Hair.

Before the school year ended I read this story to a group of second graders that visit my classroom for reading instruction. They loved the story! They were full of gasps and giggles as I read the parts about the nightime visitors. At the end they had many questions for the author, so we wrote them down. Martha Hamlett was gracious to share her answers with us at Grow Up with Books!

Author Martha Hamlett and her book Bats in the Air, Bats in My Hair.

Tysen: Is this a real story? Did this really happen?

Martha Hamlett: Yes. The idea for Bats in the Air, Bats in My Hair was taken from an event that happened to me at my own grandmother's house when I was about 8 years old. About 10 of my cousins and I decided to spend the night at my grandmother's house. She lived in a big, white house that had bedrooms on the second floor. It even came with a winding staircase and creaky steps! The girls stayed in one bedroom, the boys were across the large foyer in another bedroom. During the night some of us girls heard a noise and turned on the light. My cousin Deb was sleeping soundly on another bed. She had long hair that was streaming across the pillow. Well, we immediately saw a bat sitting tangled in her hair! Being girls we ran screaming across the hall to the boys room. Of course, they woke up. Now, 10 kids jumping on one old bed did not end well. The slats fell out, the mattress shifted, and we all ended up on the floor. My grandmother came up a bit upset with us all, put the bat outside, and made us all go back to bed. The girls had a hard time sleeping the rest of the night. We had the covers over our heads most of the time.

Jennifer: The grandma was funny hitting the bats! I liked the grandma!

MH: Thanks, Jennifer! The grandma was supposed to be a character that helps. I remember when I would get scared, especially in the middle of the night, I would always get comforted by my parents or grandparents.

Jacob: I like that you made the story a poem. Do you like to write poems?

MH: I love writing in rhyme. It is one of the hardest ways to write, especially if you are trying to sell your work to publishers. I started out writing poems when I was young.

Jennifer: There were rhyming words!

MH: Yes, the story has a simple rhyme. I rhymed the last words of the sentences.

Jayson: The pictures are cool. They kinda look like cartoons instead of regular book pictures. Did the drawer go to school to learn how to draw like that?

MH: Davey Morgan, the illustrator, majored in Visual Arts at Erksine College in Greenville, South Carolina. We both wanted the drawings to be colorful and grab the reader's attention. We tried to be different from other books on the market.

Jayson: Did you help him with ideas for the pictures or did he make it up by himself?

MH: Davey and I worked together on the pictures. I offered my ideas for each verse. I could see in my mind how I thought each verse should look. I wrote my thoughts out for Davey, and he took it from there. He added his own special touches throughout the book.

And later I read the book to my son Evan. Here is his question for the author:

Evan: The bats were funny! Did the illustrator know to put bats in the pictures on the wall, or was that part of your story?

MH: I agree-the bats were funny! I love the page where a bat named Jeff-E tried to hide from Sally and her grandmother by dressing up like a knight and hiding himself in the castle picture. Actually the illustrator added that to the story. We had the bats doing all kinds of strange things throughout the book. If you look closely, they would be jumping on the bed, trying on clothes, and even trying to brush their hair!

So, if you are looking for a funny story with a batty ending, check out Bats in the Air, Bats in My Hair at Grow Up with Books! This book will be available for rent or purchase on August 29th on our website,!

Connection ideas for Bats...

  • Can you think of another animal that might visit you at night? What would the story be like if instead of a bat it might be an owl or a raccoon?

  • Stories of things that happen to us when we are little are fun to read. Think about something that happened to you when you were younger. Can you write a poem about it?

  • Visit for more information about bats and other creatures of the night.

  • Martha started writing poems when she was young. She said that she wrote Bats... with rhyming words at the end of the sentences. Can you write some sentences about your favorite animal using rhyming words at the end?

We hope you will check out Bats in the Air, Bats in My Hair! And don't forget: Grow Up with Books members can still participate in our Summer Reading program. Reading logs are still being accepted, so be sure to return yours for a $10.00 gift card to Dairy Queen!!!!

Keep on reading!

Julie and the GUWB Team

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kids' Corner Reporters...Just Who is Bob Boyle?

Many people have heard of the recent story by Bob Boyle entitled Hugo and the Really, Really, Long String.  You may also know that his idea for that story came from a walk where he saw power lines and wondered where they might a really, really, long string.  However, our "Kids' Corner" reporters had a chance to find out some information that you may not know about the amazing Bob Boyle.

Reporters:   Evan Dauksys, Jacob Ivey, and Evelyn Ivey

  • Bob's earliest reading memories are of his mom buying him books like Hairy the Dirty Dog, Lyle Lyle Crocodile, and Dr. Seuss stories.
  • When talking about his family, we learned he has a younger sister.  From his parents,  he's like his dad because he's creative.  His dad wanted to be an artist and would give Bob hand-drawn birthday cards every year.   He's like his mom with his determination and discipline.   
  • One of Bob's favorite authors is Maurice Sendak.
  • Walt Disney and Lance Armstrong are his heros!
  • Bob loves the Beatles! 
  •  He gets to write the lyrics for the shows and then music is put to it.
  • Bob thinks the best part of writing books is creating new characters that are real and people can connect with.  He likes making a "story out of nothing."  Just like he did with the 5th graders at South Anna.
  • It takes close to 9 months to make ONE eleven minute episode of a cartoon...from idea to finished cartoon.
  • In the cartoon Wow!Wow!Wubbzy!, Bob is not Widget because he's not good with tools and most likely Wubbzy since he's fun.  But without the tail of course.
  • If Bob could go one place in the world it would be...into a Dr. Seuss book!  
  • One day Bob would like to visit Ireland (for his dad's family) and Finland (for his mom's family).
  • In his spare time he likes to run and actually LOVES to work!

  • It took Bob YEARS to make Hugo's story.
  • There may possibly be another Hugo adventure!
  • In Hugo, the customers look like Walden's face with Widget's ears (from Wubbzy), but it wasn't done on purpose.  Do you see any other characters from his cartoons?
  • Mr. Usagi (the rabbit noodle maker) got his name because "usagi" is the Japanese word for "rabbit!"
  • Bob chose a red string for Hugo since it is a color that stands out.  He chose underwear at the end of the story because it's so funny.  We's VERY funny!


  • Bob's suggestion for people who want to write or illustrate is to WRITE and DRAW!  A lot.
  • A life lesson that Bob would share is...It's great to have dreams....take action.  Nike has it right, "Just do it!"
Evan with Bob

Evelyn and Jacob with Bob

For the "Kids' Corner" reporters, spending time with Bob Boyle was life-changing.  They look at books, illustrations, cartoons, and life in an entirely new way.  Is there a book or experience like ours that has been life-changing for you?  Share it with us!  We'll write back.

Keep reading!
Evan, Jacob, and Evelyn

Thursday, July 22, 2010

GUWB meets Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String!

How do you sum up an event that was beyond your wildest dreams?  An event that started with Twitter?  An event that changed the lives of many young boys and girls? I think that the best way is to just say...WOW!  Wow, wow, Bob Boyle!

Bob Boyle, the creator of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and the new book Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String, spent the day with GUWB at South Anna Elementary earlier this  month.  GUWB sponsored this day with a morning spot on CBS channel 6 and then over to South Anna Elementary in Montpelier, Virginia.

With the help of GUWB, the teachers prepared the children for Bob's visit.  A welcome sign brought  the front of the school building to life.  All of the students were asked to think about what might be at the end of Hugo's really, really, really long string (from Bob's new book). They put their ideas down on paper (written and illustrated)--which of course included a piece of red string.  These pictures lined the walls of the school and left Bob Boyle in awe. Truthfully, as we walked down the halls a whisper of "That's Bob Boyle!  That's Bob Boyle!" could be heard again and again.  The kids were in the palm of his hands as soon as he walked in the door!

A small group of 5th graders was quite fortunate to spend about an hour with Bob.  He shared some of his art background and they shared their artistic interests.  With this knowledge, Bob talked them through creating the story of Elvis the Guinea Squirrel.   Elvis had to forge through the perfume forest in search of a new polyester disco suit and it was all caught on ceiling tiles.  Yes, ceiling tiles!!!  The story is literally on the ceiling at South Anna...a once in a lifetime experience.
Bob drew on one of the ceiling tiles to help tell Elvis the Guinea Squirrel's story!
The story evolved across the white board and proceeded to the ceiling tiles.

During lunch, the kids from GUWB had the opportunity to ask some burning questions to kick of "Kids Corner!"  Jacob Ivey, Evelyn Ivey, and Evan Dauksys found out some answers to questions you may never have thought to ask.  Stay tuned for their interview and the responses.
Jacob and Evelyn with Bob Boyle

Evan and Bob

After lunch, Bob gave two assemblies at South Anna and engaged the students from the moment they walked into the room.  Using humor and honesty, Bob shared about his life and how his dream of becoming an artist came true.  One of GUWB's favorite things he shared was showing actual photos of drawings he did as a child.  A drawing that someone in the audience could have drawn.  Showing that dreams can come true if you believe.    The children enjoyed hearing  his new book entitled Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String and left that day with a hard-to-define energy.

Grow Up With Books was proud to be a part of such an exciting event!  Sharing the day with Bob Boyle is one we won't easily forget.  We are thrilled to share that Hugo is available at GUWB and is ready to be sent to your house.  Head on over to the website, add Hugo to your cue, and look for the "red-stringed" book in your mailbox!
Julie Dauksys, Bob Boyle, and Lara Ivey

Happy reading!
The GUWB Team

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Making the Most of Your Grow Up with Books Subscription!

At Grow Up with Books we want to help families foster the love of reading!  Families that sign up for a subscription with Grow Up with Books receive a lot more than just great books at the click of a mouse.  No matter what reading plan you choose, be sure to get the most out of your subscription by remembering  the following tips:

  • Be sure to keep your book queue full!  That way we always have a list of what your family wants to read next.
  • When you return books, be sure to go on to the Grow Up with Books website and click "order returned."  This allows us to go ahead and process your next order.  Your new books will go directly to the post office.  You will not have to wait as long for new titles!
  • Read, Learn, and Return full orders, not partial ones.  We are unable to process your next order if all books are not returned in the handy postage-paid return mailer.
  • Don’t forget…if your family loves a book and you want to keep it, you can! Visit the website and buy the book at a reduced cost.

Grow Up with Books also offers specialized services that you won't find anywhere else!
  • When books are returned they are sanitized with a green cleaning product to help keep germs out.  The books you receive have been through this same process to help keep your family healthy!
  • The Read TWO Experience helps your family know how to read the book-To your child, With your child, or on their Own. Each book is marked with this information to help guide you as a parent of a Seed, Sprout, Sapling, or Young Tree reader.
  • Grow Up with Books has a Reading Consulting Team with nearly 40 years of classroom reading experience. If you have questions about ways to help your child's reading development or literacy in general, feel free to write us at  We will provide timely personal feedback and reading tips to all our subscribers.
  • All of our books are reviewed by the Reading Consulting Team and Connection Cards are created for each book.  These suggested activities help guide parents to foster a love of reading by helping children make connections between books and themselves, other books and the world.
  • Don't forget...Grow Up with Books gift cards or gift subscriptions make great gifts for baby showers, birthdays, holidays-anytime is a great time to give Grow Up with Books!
We are pleased that we can offer these services to our subscribers.  We hope that all subscribers will participate in our Summer Reading Program "Score! Read with GUWB" and receive a $10 gift card to Dairy Queen.  We ask all subscribers to Reach-a-Reader and save $5 on next month's subscription by getting a friend to sign up for a Grow Up with Books monthly book plan. 

If you haven't signed up yet, what are you waiting for?  Look at all the benefits you will receive when you share the love of reading and experience Grow Up with Books!  Sign up today and join in the fun of
reading with your child!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

"Cat"ch the World Cup Fever

What an exceptional World Cup this has been!  The GUWB Team has watched the US team through its ties, victories, and it's final loss.  However, the semi-final and final matches have yet to be played.  With that in mind, why not introduce your child to a simple chapter book entitled Soccer Cats: Switch Play! (by Matt Christopher)?  As a subscriber to GUWB, you can have it sent directly to your doorstep and add it to your GUWB Summer Reading Log.  Remember, when your family reads a total of 10 books, you're eligible for the $10 gift card to Dairy Queen. It's the perfect book to be read during these final days of World Cup excitement.  Continue to enjoy reading while you enjoy your summer!

Get reading!
The GUWB Team

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tips for Summer Reading

Make even more summer memories with your family by trying out some of our

1.  Family Storytime:  Choose a crowd-pleaser like Charlotte's Web or Clementine from the GUWB collection.  Each day read the story together as a family.  Either read the story to your children, or have the family take turns as "Guest Reader" for the evening.  After reading, have a conversation with your crew about connections you can make with what you've read. 

2.  Take a Trip:  Many of the books in the GUWB collection lend themselves to daytrip excursions for your family.  If you live in Virginia, you might read My Chincoteague Pony and visit Chincoteague Island for the annual pony penning event.  If you live in Illinois, you might read Abe's Honest Words and visit Abraham Lincoln's birthplace and museum.  If you live in the mid-Atlantic region, your might read the non-fiction book Washington, D.C. and spend a day touring our nation's capital city.  No matter where you live, try to make connections between books you read and summer events!

3.  Write All About It!  To encourage summer writing and keep those writing skills sharp, try one or all of these writing suggestions: 
     a.  Keep a journal:  In the book Ellie McDoodle:  Have Pen, Will TravelEllie goes camping with her aunt and uncle and writes all her adventures in her signature "doodle-style" notebook.  Capture your family's adventures in your own journal.
    b.  Help your child create a blog with his or her friends so they can "chat" through writing about books they are reading.
    c.  After reading Diary of a Worm, use a blank calendar to have your child record "out of the ordinary"  events (a surprise trip to Dairy Queen, a visit from grandma, a playdate, a summer party, etc.).

4.  Capturing Memories:  Summer is filled with lots of memory-making moments.  After reading When Lightning Comes in a Jartake your family outside at dusk with a jar to capture your own fireflies and make your own experience.  What other connections can your family make with this story? (reunions, family ties, foods, stories of the past, etc.)  Take pictures of events that make your summer special and encourage your child to write captions for each one in a scrapbook.

We hope these Summer Reading Tips will help your family enjoy reading even more books this summer!  Be sure to check out the GUWB book collection and tips from the Reading Consulting Team
Happy Summer Reading!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Message from our CEO

As the US advances through the World Cup, GUWB’s Summer Reading and Reach-a-Reader Programs push forward as well.  With our Summer Reading Program, we are providing a quick and easy way for parents to continue their children reading over the summer with a little cream ($10 gift card to Dairy Queen).  Who doesn’t like ice cream over the summer; by the way, it was 99 degrees today at our warehouse.  We like ice cream.

Our other unique program, Reach-a-Reader, is geared for those who don’t have children, know someone who has children, or simply needs a little extra cash in their pocket.  Simply "refer a reader" to GUWB, have that subscriber remain active for 3 months and we’ll send you $5.  Refer as many as you’d like, they remain active for 3 months, and we will continue sending you $5; it goes a long way in today’s economy.  Reach out to family and friends and let them know about our Summer Reading and Reach-a-Reader Programs.  

As the summer moves forward, take the chance to spend as much time as possible with your children.  Play with them, sit down and talk with them, and most importantly; read with them.

Thanks and "Read On!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A "World Cup SCORE" with Summer Reading at GUWB!

 Summer Reading Program!
World Cup Soccer is almost here!  We know Team USA will do their best to kick goals and win matches.  We want you to get a "kick" out of reading this summer and "win" with Grow Up with Books Summer Reading Program!  

This is our first summer at Grow Up With Books. As we look back over the past few months we have helped many families grow with reading.  This summer we want to continue to foster that same love of reading with our GUWB Reading Log.  It’s very simple.  Subscribers old and new during the months of June, July, and August will receive a reading log in the mail.  As you read Grow Up with Books titles, jot them down on this handy form.  Parents sign off that the reading is complete and send the form to Grow Up with Books with their next "book return mailer."  Once your log is received and noted on our Reading Blog we will mail you a special $10.00 gift card that you can use at a Dairy Queen near you!    

This summer you might want to take another look at our website.  We provide even more than just great books and a summer reading incentive.  We also want to hear your questions about reading development and your child.  Our Reading Consulting Team is here to answer whatever questions you have about reading development, book suggestions for your child, similar authors…you name it!  Just send your questions to and we will answer with a personal email directly to you.

The GUWB staff will be watching Team USA take on England at the World Cup Soccer games on June 12.  We want you to get in the game, too!  Everyone can win with Summer Reading and Grow Up with Books!  

World Cup and Reading Ready...

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Story Behind the Story-Moira Rose Donohue

Moira Rose Donohue

What a pleasure it is to introduce Moira Rose Donohue, author of Penny and the Punctuation Bee and Alfie the Apostrophe.  We first discovered Moira while attending the Kidlitosphere Conference 2009 and are thrilled to tell you that her books are available at Grow Up With Books--the Netflix of children's books!

Reading her two stories was truly a pleasure and delight.  I read them to myself, my own children, my mom, my cousin, my husband, and more children...get the idea?  I believe  it was the crafty way she wove the topic of  "punctuation" within an engaging picture book.   It can be difficult to find a book that holds what the teacher needs to teach and what the parent/child needs for a meaningful experience all in one book.  Moira has been successful in putting that into not one, but two books.

After reading Penny and the Punctuation Bee and Alfie the Apostrophe to several elementary school classes, I began to wonder what questions the children might have.  Their questions and thoughts did not disappoint me or Moira Donohue.

Moira was kind enough to share her thoughts about these questions and GUWB is thrilled to share them with you!

The STORY behind the STORY from Moira Rose Donohue!

Would you tell us about your family?
I have a husband, Rob, and two kids who are now in college.  My son is majoring in architecture and my daughter is studying anthropology.  She is also a drummer.

Do you have a favorite hobby?
I always wanted to be a dancer/choreographer.  A couple of years ago, I took tap dancing lessons.  I wasn't very good, but I really liked it.  I was even in a couple of recitals!

What is your favorite food?
My favorite food?  French bread, with lots of butter.  And steak.  

Do you have another job?
Another job?  Not any more.  I practiced law for 20 years, took some time with my kids while they were in middle and high school, and now I write full-time!

What do you look like?  Do you resemble someone we might know?
Well, I'd like to tell you I look like Beyonce.  But I don't.  I don't think I really look like any person.  I do kind of look like a feather pillow.  

What was your favorite book as a child?  What is your favorite children’s book today, not including your own of course.
I had a lot of favorite books, and I still do.  But the one I remember the most was MISS FLORA McFLIMSEY'S CHRISTMAS EVE by Mariana.  I thought I had lost it until I found it at my sister's house.  She claimed it was hers.  But when I opened it, I had written my name in the front.  So she had to give it back.

Do you have any pets?  Would you ever include them in your stories?
I have two dogs – a pug named Sniffles and Quincy, who is half Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and half poodle.  I love dogs, so I try to include them, when I can, in my writing.  Remember ALFIE'S dog?  I wish I'd named him.  What name would you give him?
Looks like Sniffles has a story to tell!

Take a look at Quincy!

Will there be another year of the Punctuation Bee?
Why did you make Penny the main character rather than Elsie or Quentin?
I don't have any plans for another Punctuation Bee book.  I'd like to do a story about another punctuation mark.  If you have any thoughts about which one you'd like to see, let my publisher, Albert Whitman, know.  Then they might just ask me to do it!

How did you come up with the character’s names?
I love alliteration and rhyme, so I tried to think of names that started with the same first letter as their punctuation mark and, if possible, sort of rhymed with it ("Quentin" and "question").  "Marla the period" just doesn't have the same fun sound.

What might happen if someone asks Quentin a question?  Will he be able to answer without a question?
I don't know – I tried to phrase all of his responses in the form of a question, like on Jeopardy!

Could there be another story where they get their marks all messed up?  Kind of like The Scrambled States of America. 
Oh, that's a great idea!  I will seriously think about doing a story like that!

Where did you get the idea for Alfie’s name? 
How did you come up with punctuations as a topic?
Is “apostrophe” really Greek?
I picked "Alfie" because it sounded a lot like "apostrophe."  "Apostrophe" IS a Greek word.  I thought it was, but I looked it up in my dictionary to be sure.  

Thanks to my dad, I have always loved words, grammar and punctuation. Imagine how excited I was when I got to research a question about a missing quotation mark in a very old banking law back when I was a lawyer. Without the quotation mark, it looked like the law, which people thought had been around for almost 100 years, really didn't exist. The case ultimately had to be decided by the United States Supreme Court!

One day, while I was taking a shower (I always get my best ideas in the shower), I was imagining what talents punctuation marks might have, based on both their function and their appearance.  An apostrophe as a magician just came to me.  I ran to my computer and wrote my first draft that morning.

*QUESTIONS about Illustrations...
We noticed that the illustrations are done by different people, but look similar.  Did you have an idea for the illustrations and share them with the illustrators?
Why weren’t they the same person?

Interesting question.  My publisher, Albert Whitman, asked the illustrator of ALFIE, JoAnn Adinolfi, to illustrate PENNY.  Unfortunately, she had a lot of books she had promised to illustrate and couldn't do it for 2 years.  They didn't want to wait, so they asked Jenny Law to use a similar look.  She used only paint (JoAnn used some collage paper), but I think it looks a lot like ALFIE.  

I'm not very artistic.  I pictured the characters differently, but I like the way the illustrators painted them better than the way I saw them in my mind!

How many books have you written?  
I have probably written 25 books (the first when I was in 6th grade).  But I've only had two published, so far.  I have also published plays, articles and a poem.

What is the process for writing stories like these?  (This came from a 1st grader!!!!)
Super question!  First, you write the story.  Then you share it with your writer friends for suggestions, edit it and mail it to publishers.  In the case of ALFIE, several publishers rejected it. But one bought it and found an illustrator.  Then they gave me more edits.  I was lucky, because they showed me the sketches and drawings along the way.  I was able to comment when there was something in the picture and the text that didn't line up – for example, I had written that the cheerleading exclamation points did splits.  But the illustrator drew them without legs, so we changed it to "flips."

The book is then sent to the printer, who prints it on giant rolls of paper with eight pages on each sheet, which is why picture books are either 24, 32 or 48 pages – something divisible by 8!  Then it's bound and sent to bookstores!

Do you have a book waiting to be published?
I have several books that I have submitted to publishers, but nothing that they have agreed to publish yet.  Keep your fingers crossed!  And right now I am working on a middle grade novel.

Do you have a pen name?
No.  My name is unusual, so I just go with it!

Do you know Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling?
No – I wish I did!  But I know Kathryn Erskine, whose latest book, MOCKINGBIRD, is probably going to win a lot of awards!

*COMPLIMENTS for Mrs. Donohue...
I loved how you described the “snow” in Alfie’s tummy when he couldn’t remember the words to the spell.
We love how you end both stories!
Thank you.  A writer once told me that you should end your stories with lots of lights and sounds.  I loved that idea, so I always try!!!

We like how Elsie looked like a question mark at the end.  Maybe she will start to see things differently.  Maybe the story could continue.  What would happen then?
Making Elsie droop until she looked like a question mark was actually my daughter's idea!  

I bet you can’t survive without apostrophes!
Here's a question for you to think about – if you were a punctuation mark, which one would you be and why?  I would be an asterisk, because it's sparkly and twinkly like a star (and its name comes from the Greek word "aster" meaning star.)

Thank you to Moira Donohue for taking time to share with us about these delightful books.  If you haven't read them, take the time to do it!  Check them out at GUWB--you and your children will be entertained for sure.  Take time to visit her website and the Punctuation Playground.  You can even listen to part of Penny and the Punctuation Bee read by Mrs. Donohue!

So, we leave you with that question from our featured author..."What punctuation mark would you be?  Why?"

Happy reading!
The GUWB Team

*Pictures used from Moira's website.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Partners in Education

Lara Ivey and Ray Heatwole
(Assistant Principal at South Anna Elementary)
Grow Up With Books has had the pleasure of being a Partner in Education with Hanover County Public Schools and South Anna Elementary. During our year with them, we have donated books, resources, consulting, and supported South Anna's First Annual Spirit Run! We are the Netfilx of children's books and are dedicated to putting education first.

As a sign of appreciation, Hanover County provided a lovely luncheon and presentation at King's Dominion yesterday. My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend and connect with other business partners. It's been a true pleasure to help the community in this way. We look forward to making a difference in the lives of today's children--through partnerships like this as well as our online rental experience at GUWB.
Dr. Jamelle S. Wilson
 (Hanover County-Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Leadership)
Reach out and read,
The GUWB Team

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Celebrating Books!

Children's Book Week 2010
May 10-16

Mother and children (3-4) reading book, smiling

At GUWB, we celebrate books and children EVERY day and are behind Frederic Melcher when he declared, "A great nation is a reading nation." This week we would like to take a
moment to focus on Children's Book Week.

This tradition began way back in 1919 and was originally celebrated the week before Thanksgiving, being moved to May in 2008. Children's Book Council was in charge of the week from 1944-2008. In 2008, Every Child a
Reader began to hold the responsibility of this special week. Every Child a Reader is a philanthropic piece to the Children’s Book Council.

From The Children’s Book Council... “Through Children's Book Week, the Children's Book Council encourages young people and their caregivers to discover the complexity of the world beyond their own experience through books."

As a part of this week, Children's Choice Book Awards are given. In honor of this, we'd like to highlight a winner from each of our categories at GUWB...Seed (0-2 yo), Sprout (3-4 yo), Sapling (5-8 yo), and Young Tree (9-12 yo). You may be unfamiliar with some of these titles, but they are sure to be winners with your children. Check them out!

Look & See: Let's Count by La Coccinella

I Spy by Jean Marzollo

Andrew Lost #1: On the Dog by J.C. Greenburg

by Jody Feldman

To celebrate this week, check the CBC's website for fantastic posters, bookmarks, puzzles and other ideas to explore. There are even official events in which you can participate. Check it out and see what looks like a fit for your family. Visit the GUWB website and see what books you might like to have sent to you. Consider sharing some of your ideas for celebrating books with us. By sharing, you may inspire others to celebrate books in a special way!

Happy reading and celebrating!
The GUWB Team
submitted by Lara

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What are People Saying About GUWB?

Wondering what subscribers are saying about GUWB? Wonder no more!
Man's hand giving thumbs up

Here is what Elaine Johnson has to say...
“I love Grow Up With Books! I’m a busy mom of three. I work at my own business, deal with two different schools, multiple sports teams, playdates, cooking, homework, etc. Education and a love for reading is a high priority for me. Fitting that around my schedule is difficult. I can’t get to the bookstore very often, the library has limited hours, and when I’m at those places, my kids always want a DVD rather than a book. Enter GUWB. It’s truly been a simple and very cost effective way for me to keep my kids interested in books. And it’s something I can do in the evening or early morning with them or late at night when I’m alone. I log-in, sort by what I need, add books to my queue, and I’m finished. It’s that simple – I’ve done it multiple times. If one of my children loves a book after we read it, I can easily purchase it. It’s so easy to mail the books back and get new ones when we’re ready. The packaging is included and again, very user-friendly. I’ve never had a problem with a return or getting the books I selected. The books are in great shape and the age appropriate categories are perfect for my kids. I get e-mails to alert me when my list is short and we go in and add some more. However, what truly sold me on the program was the sanitation. Having a son with asthma and allergies (and unable to get any flu vaccines) has made me more conscious of what I bring in the house. With GUWB, I don’t worry about who has handled the books before us.”

Blair Neher has more thoughts to share...
"Grow Up With Books offers a great alternative to the costly task of providing your child with quality reading. Now more than ever, every penny counts. Especially pennies and dollars spent on books that get read once and then put on the shelf to collect dust. GUWB has a great selection of easy to find books, broken down by age group, all available via Netflix style rental."

Here's YOUR chance!
Why not try our 1st and 4th month FREE trial? Just use code CEF9E5 when signing up as a subscriber to GUWB!

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you make reading a priority in your family.

Best regards,
The GUWB Team
Submitted by Lara

Sunday, May 2, 2010

What is your "Betty Doll?"

The second Sunday of May is the official time to remember our mothers.

One book that does an amazing job of this is Patricia Polacco's Betty Doll. This delightful picture book begins with a letter from Patricia Polacco explaining the history of Betty Doll from her mother, Mary Ellen. Due to a fire, all of Mary Ellen’s dolls were gone and her mother (Polacco’s grandmother) saw how much pain this caused her. Mary Ellen and her mother made Betty Doll and the story takes flight. Betty Doll goes to the first day of school, recites poems at tea parties, and even comes to the rescue on a frightful snowy day. These experiences help the reader to understand why Betty Doll is such a prized possession for Patricia Polacco and is a symbol of many things for her. Check out Polacco's website to see and hear more.

About her mother and the story of Betty Doll, Polacco says, "In this story I would like to share her words with you, for in the face of bitter grief, her sweet words brought comfort, insight and warmth that still linger in my heart...and will continue to, as long as there are children who tell children about mothers they love." I believe that Betty Doll holds the memories that it does because it was made with love. Made by Polacco's mother and Grandmother after a devastating event. Betty Doll is a symbol of love that connects generation to generation.

Our question to you is..."What is your Betty Doll?" While we didn't make this together, one of our's is the bed that my daughter sleeps in. My father bought it at an auction for me when I was two years old for $2.50! I slept in this antique bed (built around 1900) until I was in my twenties. Now my sweet daughter sleeps in this bed. I love that I am able to share this bed with her and I look forward to seeing her share it with her children...just like Polacco has done with the doll from her mother.

During this "Mother's Day" season, think about what your "Betty Doll" is at your home. It doesn't have to be a doll, it could be anything that shares memories or is a prized possession--something made with love, shared with love and above all elicits memories. Maybe it's a picture, a blanket, or a stuffed animal. We'd love to hear about your special items and the role they play in your family.

If you are looking for books (in addition to Betty Doll) that highlight mothers, check out the books below that are part of the GUWB offerings...

Sharing memories,
The GUWB Team
Submitted by Lara

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day with GREAT Books!

Recycle with earth
Can you believe that forty years has passed since the first Earth Day? Celebrate on April 22nd by reading a few special stories from GUWB.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh is a great way to approach Earth Day with young children. Read about ten simple things we can all do to help the world we live in, fun and easy eco-tips printed on 100% recycled material.

Recycle by Gail Gibbons is a great introduction to recycling with your child. The illustrations show what happens with trash from the time it is picked up at your house and through the entire recycling process. The comic-style format connects with readers young and old alike.

Also, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., consider joining the climate rally on Sunday, April 25th. Check out for more specific information!

Share with us how you and your family plan on celebrating Earth Day this year. And don't forget that every day is Earth Day!

Take care of yourselves AND the Earth!

The GUWB Team
submitted by Lara

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Message from our CEO!

Girls (6-13 years) lying on jetty beside lake, reading book together and smiling
It has been exactly one year since the inception and launch of Grow Up With Books and we are succeeding in our mission to provide access to rich literature for families in a very reasonable and exciting manner. Creating the Netflix-style program allows parents to sign up for a reading experience that fits both their family size and budget, saving them time in the process by simply logging-on, adding books to their queue, and letting our dedicated staff take care of the rest. Our experienced and passionate Reading Consulting Team is available to answer any subscriber’s questions; a significant opportunity for our subscriber’s to continue to build their children’s reading development. Another way our company has differentiated itself from our competitors is through our sanitization process, ensuring families receive clean and sanitized books with each shipment. I am excited with our initial success, the positive response from our subscribers, and our continued growth.

Cupcake and candle decorated in floral motif

As a thank you to our reading community and friends, please use code CEF9E5 and receive your first and 4th month free from GUWB.

Thanks again,
Phil Dauksys

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Battle Begins...Book or Movie?

GUWB is getting ready to feature the Percy Percy Jackson series on our blog. To start us off, we've asked Jacob Ivey to share his 9-year-old thoughts about how the book, The Lightning Thief (by Rick Riordan) compares to the movie.

Lara: I understand that you read the book twice before seeing the movie. In your opinion, which one do you feel is better?

Jacob: I would have to say the book, because there are a lot more details. You can even sense how the characters are feeling in different situations which you don't get from the movie. You can't hear what is going on inside their heads. Another point I'd like to make is that you can miss even small bits in a movie and you can't go back. In a book, you can always re-read for a better understanding.

Lara: You definitely shared some great reasons for reading the book. As far as the movie goes, did you have a favorite part?

Jacob: I would have to say, even though Medusa was very entertaining, the Lotus Casino was action-packed.

Lara: I have heard you talking about some of the differences between the movie and the book. Would you mind sharing some of your thoughts about that?

Jacob: Bringing me to this thought it's kind of like your first question. Because there were so many changes, it's another reason to like the book better. I'll list some things that surprised me.

1. In the book, Ares had the Master Bolt and in the movie it was Luke.

2. Ares wasn't even in the movie, but played a major part in the story line of the book.

3. In the book, all of the pearls were given to them. In the movie, they had to find them individually.

4. The Chihuahua Lady (Echidna) was in the book, but not the movie. Actually, the whole scene of the St. Louis Gateway Arch is taken out of the movie. I think that the Hydra scene might have been used in its place.

5. In the book, Annabeth shows Percy around Camp Half-Blood. Grover does it in the movie.

6. In the book, there were cabins for each God/Goddess' child in a U-shape. Percy went to cabin #11 (Hermes) since he was undetermined. In the movie there were tents in the woods.

7. Luke's shoes were given to Percy, but he gave them to Grover and didn't end up wearing them. In the movie, they were kept and worn by Percy.

8. In the book, they send Medusa's head to Olympus. The movie has them bringing it along to help with their quest to freeze Hydra.

9. Not only is Ares missing from the movie, his half-blood daughter, aka Clarisse, is missing as well. Too bad. I think I may have laughed the hardest when she was soaked by Percy's powers in the bathroom. This would have been easy to include in the movie, but just wasn't.

10. In the book, Annabeth was on Percy's team for the first "Capture the Flag." In the movie, they were against each other.

11. Percy has a capped pen named "Riptide;" in the movie he has a clicking pen without a name.

12. Percy uses glass to kill Medusa, but in the movie it's an iPod Touch. Why would he have an iPod Touch if monsters sense electronics? Wouldn't that draw MONSTER (big) attention? Get the play on words?

13. Grover walks with a limp in the book and not with crutches like he does in the movie.

14. Percy's mom, Sally, is left behind in the Underworld. However, in the movie it's Grover who is left.

15. The book had Dionysys being in charge of Camp Half-Blood. The movie had Chiron as the director of the camp and not director of camp activities.

16. Where is the BLUE food? That's what Percy's mom was famous for in the book.

Lara: WOW, Jacob! You have pointed out some interesting differences between the book and the movie. I have a feeling that there may be even more.

Jacob: Of course, there are TONS more. I just don't have enough time to tell you all of them.

Lara: Maybe other people could share more and find ones that even YOU didn't notice. Let's open this discussion up for others to join in.

Jacob: Okay...sounds good!

If you have seen the movie and/or read the book, please take a moment to share your thoughts. Weigh in on which is better. Tell your favorite part. Consider adding more ways that the two are different or just send a "shout out" to agree with some of the points Jacob has made.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Read on...
The Grow Up With Books Team

Submitted by Lara Ivey and Jacob Ivey