Holiday Gift-giving: Art Books

Happy Holiday Shopping Guide! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street, is happy to present our 2017 recommendations for gifts this year. With the busy lives people lead nowadays, it is a great time to encourage your friends and family members to sit back, relax, and enjoy viewing some of the artistic treasures that are available in many of the Art books that we have on hand.

There are many books available on specific artists such as Matisse, Rembrandt, Renoir and Rockwell, containing photographs of many of their most famous works. If someone you know likes a particular artist, we might just have a book on him/her. If your loved one enjoys a particular museum, we have books highlighting several of them, including the National Gallery of Art.

Art - artists

If you have a budding artist among your troupe, you can find many different types of “How-to” art books in our collection. There are many books about drawing, anatomy, even handwriting!

Art-Drawing

If Art History is more up their alley, there are various books about what happened in the art world in the past, such as with Vermeer and the Nazis, in The Forger’s Spell by Edward Dolnick, or the quest for a Caravaggio masterpiece, in The Lost Painting, by Jonathan Harr. You might also consider a straight history book, such as Impressionist and Modern Art, Part 1. If you like art, but are more of a fiction Fan, we have some books that fall into that category, such as The Secret Supper, by Javier Sierra. In other words, if there is an art fan in your life, you are bound to find a meaningful book for them here!

Art-history

Thank you for making Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester your neighborhood bookstore, and we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!

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Spotlight: Ruth Spiro and BABY LOVES SCIENCE

12082017 - Baby Loves Books

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday Spotlight on Ruth Spiro, the author of Baby Loves Science series of board books—which we are also spotlighting as part of our Holiday Gift-Giving blogs.

The Baby Loves Science series are a great way to start developing children’s interests in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) at a level they can understand, but with accuracy that satisfies the experts. With beautiful illustrations, the books break down complex ideas into the tiniest building blocks for our youngest learners.

Thank you so much for joining us Ruth! Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?

I’m the author of the Baby Loves Science series of board books, and until recently I was also working as a freelance magazine writer.

I live in suburban Chicago with my husband and our cockapoo, Lily. Our two daughters are both in college now, so we’re getting used to this “empty nest” thing.

 Like many others who write for children, my interest began when my girls were young and I found myself reading piles of picture books with them. One day I happened to be flipping through a catalog from a local community college and noticed a class in writing for children, so on a whim I decided to try it out. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

What was the inspiration for Baby Loves Science? What were the steps you took to bring it from initial inspiration to the finished books?

Back in 2010, The New York Times ran the article “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children” (www.nytimes.com/2010/10/08/us/08picture.html). It attributed a drop in overall picture book sales to the misguided choice some parents were making to bypass picture books for their very young children in favor of more “sophisticated” reading material. I was discussing the article with friends and wondered aloud, “What do these parents want, quantum physics for babies?” The more I thought about it, I realized this was an idea with potential.

 But while it seemed like a good idea, I knew that my books would need to be accurate and age-appropriate if they were going to have value. I decided that the best way to make the concepts less abstract would be to relate each topic to a familiar real-world experience or observation. I spent several months researching the science, in search of the best “story” for each book. Then, once I had a thick folder full of research and notes I began researching child development to learn more about my intended audience. I’d previously written picture books, but I envisioned these as board books for babies and toddlers. So, I read scholarly articles about the acquisition of language and early literacy, as well as many, many of board books.

My goal with these books isn’t to “teach” babies about complex concepts. We know that through simple activities such as watching a bird fly or dropping crackers just to watch them fall, babies are gathering information about the way the world works. By creating a connection between these familiar experiences and the science behind them, I hope to help parents and caregivers turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities for their little ones.

12082017 - Ruth Spiro WEB1

 

What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?

If you’re new to writing, I highly recommend signing up for an introductory class, as I did. It’s essential that aspiring authors learn about the basics of how the business works, in addition to reading hundreds of books in their chosen genre. Yes, hundreds!

 If a class isn’t possible, pick up a copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Books for Children,” edited by Harold Underdown. I always hesitate recommending this book because I don’t want to imply that anyone is a “Complete Idiot,” but that’s the title of the series and the book contains just about everything one needs to know about the writing and publishing process.

Join the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and find a local network. Meeting others in the field is a great way to exchange ideas and advice.

Finally, take advantage of every opportunity to attend talks by visiting authors at bookstores or libraries. Not only children’s book authors, but novelists, poets, and even journalists all have something to offer. I’ve taken away valuable advice from listening to screenwriters, travel writers and memoirists – because writing is writing is writing. Listen to how others approach their craft, take notes, and think about how you can apply their advice to your own work.

 

What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?

Because I’ve always been a fan of Jane Yolen’s work, it still feels surreal to recall that I spent a long weekend at her home while attending her inaugural Picture Book Boot Camp. It was three days of pure magic, as she shared insights about the writing and publication process and gave me personal feedback on some of my work. One of the highlights of my weekend was a late night excursion into the woods in search of owls with Jane’s daughter Heidi Stemple. Heidi is also an author, as well as the small child in the red coat pictured in Owl Moon!

12082017 - Reading by 9 Ruth Cover

 

What else can we expect from you in the near future?

I’m happy to report that thanks to their popularity, the Baby Loves Science family is growing! Readers can expect to see four new titles in 2018, two in the spring and two in the fall. We’ll be sharing those upcoming titles very soon.

I also have another picture book series, Made by Maxine, coming out with Dial in 2018. Inspired by her trusty companion and muse, a pet goldfish, Maxine is determined to make the world a better place, one crazy contraption at a time.

 

Where can people find your work? (Besides ABSW ;)–though they should totally check here first!)

The Baby Loves Science books are available anywhere books are sold, but whenever possible my personal preference is to support independent booksellers and shop local!

 

How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?

Website: www.RuthSpiro.com

Twitter: @ruthspiro

Instagram: @ruthspiro

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RuthSpiro.Author/

 Thank you so much for being our Spotlight this week, Ruth!  And for our customers, if you’ve got friends and families with babies or babies on the way, check out the Baby Loves Science series at our store!

12082017 - Ruth Charlesbridge books

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Holiday Gift-Giving: Kids’ Book Reviews, Part 1

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester puts a lot of work into curating our children’s and teens’ selections—and our inspiration comes from listening to the ones who read these books!

When the events team hit the New England Independent Bookseller’s Association trade show last fall, we brought home a lot of really cool advance review copies of books to see what our younger readers wanted.  Today, we’re happy to share a few of the reviews we received back!

From Victoria S., 11 years old, we received back two reviews!

For OMG…Is He Also A Witch?! by Talia Aikens-Nuñez, Victoria says, “I liked this book because it had everything I loved. It had mystery, magic, and also comedy.  Someone who would like this book might also like OMG…Am I Witch?! , OMG…I Did It Again?!, [also by Aikens-Nuñez] and T.J. Wooldridge’s The Kelpie.

For My Brigadista Year by award-winning author Katherine Paterson, Victoria says, “I liked this book because it really showed me all the things we, as humans, take for granted that other humans might not have the right to.” She says people who like this book would like Making Friends with Willy Wong, The Fault in Our Stars, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Thank you so much for your feedback, Victoria!

So if you’ve got a growing reader who needs some books this year, we have these featured titles (and the comparable titles) in stock and ready for you to bring home to wrap.

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Events Buzz: Snowy Shopping Plans

01182016 - Book Snowflakes

Before the winter weather decided to show up, we had a wonderful event this past Thursday with Cecilia Tan and her spicy romance and erotica novels!

Unfortunately, we did have to postpone our Make Way for Nancy event, featuring public artist Nancy Schön due to the snowy weather. We’re working on a new date for the event, so keep and eye out for it!

If you’re not particularly thrilled with the idea of going out in the snow, you can order holiday presents from us and we’ll deliver to you! The deadline for getting orders shipped to you would be this Thursday, December 14.  If you need something special on order, and can come into the store to pick it up, you have until Monday, December 18 if you need to receive it in time for Christmas.

If you’re not worried about gift-giving deadlines and want to hide away from weather, you’re always welcome to order through the store for home delivery!

If you’re stuck on what to get for folks, our cozy “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street can help you with that, too. We’ve got gift certificates, signed books, and other unique items sure to please just about everyone on your list. In fact, to help you find the perfect gifts, we’re currently posting gift ideas on our blog every day through December 24. (The store will be closed December 25, 2017.)

We have two more events for this year!

THIS SATURDAY, December 16,  from 6:00 – 8:00 PM, Rainbow Readers Discuss Harem Master by Megan Derr. Join us for our monthly LGBTQIA Book Group. You don’t have to have finished or read the novel to enjoy the discussion, but if you’d like to check it out, we DO have copies on hand at the store for you to pick up before the meeting!

Lord Demir has spent his life trying to appease a brutal, selfish king, and keep the concubines under his care alive—and now he is on the verge of losing everything.

Crown Prince Ihsan returns to find his home in turmoil, and the royal court so full of vipers it’s impossible to say which of them will strike first. Removing his father from the throne should be a simple matter; staying alive and proving himself a worthy king will be far more difficult.

Crown Princess Euren has spent the last five years in hiding so that she could not be used against her father or Ihsan. But she is the daughter of a soldier, never meant to wear a crown, never trained to fight battles where words are the weapon of choice. If she hopes to keep herself and her loved ones alive, she’ll have to learn fast.

And don’t forget about our monthly Doctor Who Discussion Night! December’s event happens on Thursday, December 21, starting at 7:00 PM.

We’ll be discussing the many Doctor Who Christmas Specials!

And 2018 is not that far away! Here’s a look at some of our upcoming events!

Saturday, January 6, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Maureen Boyle, Shallow Graves, and the New Bedford Serial Killer

Saturday, January 13, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Cullen Murphy presents Cartoon Country.

Saturday, January 20, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses Think of England by KJ Charles.

NEW LINK: Saturday, January 27, 1:00 – 3:00 PM – Young Explorers Adventure Guide Authors Share Middle Grade Science Fiction.

NEW LINK: Tuesday, February 6, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Les Johnson, NASA Engineer and SF Author.

NEW LISTING: Saturday, February 17, 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Rainbow Readers Discusses Peter Darling by Austin Chant.

As a reminder, here are our regular events…

Spinning Yarns Craft and Audiobook Social, every Monday 7:00 PM (except for when the Free People’s Artists Workshop meets the fourth Monday of the month). Bring a craft and enjoy an audiobook or audio drama with other crafty booklovers!

The Free People’s Artists Workshop, the fourth Monday of each month from 7:00-9:00 PM. Networking and feedback from other artists and creators of all types. Co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association. Next meeting TBA based on holidays.

Doctor Who Discussion Nights, the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 PM. Join us for a discussion of our favorite science fiction series. Next meeting is December 21. “Christmas Specials.”

The Rainbow Readers of Massachusetts is an LGBTQIA book club that will meet once a month, usually on the third Saturdays, from 6:00-8:00 PM. Next meeting, THIS SATURDAY, December 16.

As always, keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

If you had a great time shopping or at any event at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester at our 65 James Street location, you can leave us a review on TripAdvisor or leave us a review on Yelp.

 May your world be filled with wonderful words!

 

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Holiday Gift-Giving: Greeting & Note Cards

Happy Holiday Shopping Guide! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street, is happy to present our 2017 recommendations for gifts this year. For those of you who are a bit old fashioned and like to send hand-written notes or messages instead of emails to your loved ones, or if you would simply like to give someone who does enjoy writing a nice gift, we have some unique and very artistic greeting cards and note cards on our racks this year.

First of all, we have several boxes of note cards. Cards by Andrea Wisnewski  have 12 cards in the box, and are full color illustrations of animals. Cards by Mary Azarian, The Farmer’s Alphabet, are 6 woodcut designs, 12 cards in the box. Cards by Selina Lovett , our resident Marketing and Special Events Specialist at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester all contain photographs of animals. There are 8 note cards in those boxes.

Cards-Boxed sets

Selina has also created some unique holiday cards, which have very different sayings on them, and come complete with photographs of wildlife, barn animals or pets. A percentage of the profits from these cards will be donated to a wildlife conservation fund.

Cards-Holiday 2

If you enjoy fine art, we have some beautiful cards by Pomegranate Publications that place museum art pieces onto greeting cards.

Cards-Pomegranate

Fantasy lovers, we also have cards for you. Dragon Tales publishes very creative cards made from fantasy artwork by artists such as Real Musgrave, Alicia Austin and Michael Whelan. You might want to buy several of these and give them as a gift.

Cards-Fantasy

Thank you for making Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester your neighborhood bookstore, and we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!

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Holiday Gift-giving: Badge Buttons & Bookmarks

Happy Holiday Shopping Guide! Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester, the “bigger on the inside” bookstore at 65 James Street, is happy to present our 2017 recommendations for gifts this year. This year we have something totally different at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester .  If you have to wear an ID badge at work (so everyone knows your name), have friends or co-workers who must wear ID badges, or just attend a lot of conferences, we have just the stocking stuffer or small gift for you!

Think about those awful pins that some ID badges have that you have to pin to your clothes, which sometimes leaves holes. What about the other badges you hang on a neck lanyard that gets in the way when you are trying to slurp some soup, or pulls on your neck when you shove it on your back? And what about the times when you have to use your badge as a method of entry into a room at work? Well, we have a solution for that.  Get a Badge Button!

buttons

The handmade badge buttons we have for sale are simple stylish clip-on button-like badge holders with a retractable line, and a place to clip your badge. They come in many different prints, including a few Celtics ones for you sports fans. The holder itself is fastened to a tightly strung flexible material that allows you to extend your badge out if you want to show it to someone closely, and then retract it in quickly.

badge stretched

They cost $3.00 each, so at that price, you can buy several!  They were created by Katie Giroux, a local craft vendor, who also created some wonderful bookmarks we have for sale as well.

BOOKMARKS:

The bookmarks come in a gold or silver color, with beads and charms.

Bookmark-lone black fish

If you like cats, or know someone who does, there are 3 different styles of cat bookmarks. One of the charms is even reversible from black on one side to silver on the other! For the Butterfly lover, we do have one for you.

bookmarks-cats

Fish are very popular as well, and there are several to choose from.  There are also other bookmarks with various charms such as stars, smiley faces, teapots, etc. to amuse your favorite book lover.

bookmarks - many

Thank you for making Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester your neighborhood bookstore, and we wish you all a safe and happy holiday season!

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Postponed: MAKE WAY FOR NANCY Book Talk & Signing

Due to the expected inclement weather on Saturday, December 9th, we have reluctantly decided to postpone our scheduled event with Nancy Schön, creator of many beautiful literary sculptures in Boston.

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We look forward to rescheduling with Nancy at a future date.

The bookstore will be open its regular Saturday hours tomorrow, December 9th from 9am until 9pm.

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