Moose on the Loose-Midwest Connections

October 31, 2009

MooseOnLoose9781585364275-300x300What would you do with a moose on the loose? Colorful, comic artwork highlights the hilarity that ensues when wildlife wanders indoors. Can boy best beast? By story’s end, young readers will know exactly what to do when a moose goes on the loose!


Kathy-jo Wargin is the bestselling author of more than 30 books for children. Among her many awards for her work are an IRA Children’s Choice Award for The Legend of the Loon and an IRA Teachers’ Choice Award forWin One for the Gipper. Kathy-jo lives in Minnetonka, Minnesota.  Visit her website at

John Bendall-Brunello began drawing at quite a young age, and especially loves illustrating animals and children, capturing movement and life within simple and bold compositions. He has illustrated over 60 children’s books. John lives part of the year in Cambridge, England, and part in Cannes in the south of France.

Corn-Midwest Connections

October 29, 2009

Corn9780823421695-reduced-288x300Popcorn, corn on the cob, breakfast cereals – corn is used in many of children’s favorite foods. But what is the story behind this popular grain? Gail Gibbons dishes up the details about corn’s cultivation, uses, and more, offering a cornucopia of information in her typical style. (And be sure to have copies available next winter to celebrate National Popcorn Day on January 19.)

Because the “Corn Belt” is highlighted by Gail Gibbons as the highest corn-producing region in the country, children from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin will be especially fond of a book that celebrates an important natural resource grown right in their own backyard!


Gail Gibbons has written more than 140 books for children, including Hurricanes! and its companion Tornadoes!, The Pumpkin Book, Apples, and Ice Cream: The Full Scoop. This graduate of the University of Illinois now lives in rural Vermont in a passive solar house that her husband, Kent Ancliffe, built and on an island off the coast of Maine.

End of Season Sale-Bicycle Accessories 20% Off

October 27, 2009

1008sm9002smIt’s the end of the season and we need space for more books. All bike accessories are 20% off.  We still have some bags, pumps, tubes, tools, gloves, socks and lights in stock.

Stray Affections-Midwest Connections

October 27, 2009

Stray-Affections-194x300The last thing that Cassandra Higgins expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some mommy time, with husband, Ken, at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’

t resist taking the unique globe home-even if means wrestling another shopper for it!

The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassandra, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty”

Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw, Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassandra keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal, Margret. But after a strange-flurrious, as Cassandra deems it-moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassandra and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and lifechanging journey.

With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’

s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites readers to experience the joy and the healing of second chances.

“Inspirational novelist Baumbich (Dearest Dorothy series) presents readers with a lovely story of forgiveness, restoration and a dash of hopeful whimsy thrown in for pure pleasure. Baumbich, whose nonfiction is frequently self-deprecating and thoroughly comedic, offers her fiction fans a tale that is “flurrious” with the unexpected and unimagined as Cassandra Higgins, mom to four young boys and day-care provider, sets upon a course of self-discovery after purchasing a snow globe. Cassandra, whose father committed suicide and whose mother barely, and bitterly so, continues to face life one day at a time, revisits her childhood pain as she gazes into this glass globe containing three dogs and a girl resembling herself. This young mother realizes that even with a loving husband, children and a life absent of any major catastrophe, the past continues to wield a mighty force that shapes present-day attitudes and lingering emotional afflictions. Baumbich reaches deep into the heart’s recesses, but does so with the precision of the most skilled emotional physician. For that, her readers will feel nothing but gratitude.”

s Weekly


Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. Her stories, essays, and columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and Today’s Christian Woman. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written six nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. She lives in Glen Ellyn, Illinois with retired hubby, George, and Kornflake, her big red dog. Kornflake was adopted from the Winona Area Humane Society in Winona, Minnesota. He helped her write much of this book by cheering her on, taking her for muse-inducing walks, and keeping her toes warm while she typed. For more information about Charlene’

s upcoming books, visit her website

Otis Video-Midwest Connections

October 26, 2009

Josie Rawson Reading Oct. 23

October 16, 2009

Critically acclaimed and award-winning poet Joanna Rawson will read from and sign copies of her new book, “Unrest,” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, October 23, at Monkey See, Monkey Read bookstore. The event is free and the public is invited.

“Unrest,” published in September by Graywolf Press, is the second collection from Rawson, a Northfield resident whose “intense language,” says Kirkus Reviews, “recalls the hothouse prose of Cormac McCarthy.”

Rawson’s first collection Quarry,” won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Award Series in Poetry.

Among the stories and themes in this thought-provoking collection, a man’s sister sews him into a bus seat, stowaway immigrants suffocate in a crowded boxcar, and the first female suicide bomber passes through a checkpoint. “Unrest” shows the fervent, if not desperate, side of humanity pressed to the limits. With a resonant lyricism and profound beauty, these poems are restless meditations on American life, political borders, lawlessness, parenthood, and the spaces where the natural world and human turmoil come into conflict. Here is the voice of the poet at one moment in contemplation and at the next in emotional outcry, stuttering into song.

From “The Insurgency”: “The sky threatens to answer a prayer but then won’t. It is not exactly our own minds we go out of.”

“Joanna Rawson’s poems,” Arthur Vogelsang said, “tend toward the immediate, her shattered narratives describing a landscape that is swollen and overripe, ready to burst. These are violent poems, not in the sense of voyeurism or titillation, but in terms of a society on the brink of coming apart: the detonation of the pastoral, erotic affairs heading for annihilation, transcendence laced with despair and resignation.”
Copies of “Unrest” are available at the store and will be available for purchase during the event.

Twisted Tree-Midwest Connections

October 16, 2009


A Novel
by Kent Meyers

“In his beautiful and unsettling new novel, Meyers (The Work of Wolves) examines the effects of a murder on the residents of a small South Dakota town. In an opening sequence that is so disturbing it’s difficult to read, teen Hayley Jo Zimmerman is stalked and abducted by a serial killer. The rest of the novel uses the rippling consequences of Hayley Jo’s murder to explore the smaller rural tragedies in Twisted Tree, S.D.: Elise, a forlorn grocery clerk, judges everyone by their purchases and hides the secret terrors of her past as a missionary; Sophie Lawrence cares for her invalid stepfather while losing her sanity; Angela Morrison learns to accept the harsh realities of being a rancher’s wife; Stanley, Haley Jo’s father, channels his grief into a desperate need to connect with a stranger. The novel is brimming with arresting descriptions, and the western setting is employed to surprising effect, as in a sequence contrasting the removal of an invasive salt cedar bush with a father’s awareness of his son’s first crush. Meyers’s small masterpiece deserves comparison to the work of Raymond Carver, Joy Williams and Peter Matthiessen.”
Publisher’s Weekly, STARRED review

Hayley Jo Zimmerman is gone. Taken. And the people of small-town Twisted Tree must come to terms with this terrible event—their loss, their place in it, and the secrets they all carry.

In this brilliantly written novel, one girl’s story unfolds through the stories of those who knew her. A supermarket clerk recalls an encounter with a disturbingly thin Hayley Jo. Sophie, Twisted Tree’s resident but secretly not-so-altruistic saint, is shaken by a single, passing moment during Hayley Jo’s adolescence. Dark memories paralyze Richard Mattingly as he as he struggles to help his son, Clay, cope with their new loss. An ex-priest remembers baptizing Hayley Jo and seeing her with her best friend, Laura, whose mother the priest once loved. And Laura berates herself for all the running they did, how it fed her friend’s withdrawal, and how there were so many secrets she didn’t see. And so, Hayley Jo’s absence recasts the lives of others and connects them, her death rooting itself into the community in astonishingly violent and tender ways.

TWISTED TREE is a tribute to the powerful effect one person’s life can have on everyone she knew. Solidly in the company of Aryn Kyle, Kent Haruf, and Peter Matthiessen, Kent Meyers is one of the best contemporary writers on the American West. Here he also takes us into the complexity of community regardless of landscape. Readers will be entranced by TWISTED TREE .Kent Meyers

ABOUT THE AUTHORKent Meyers is the author of The Work of WolvesLight in the Crossing,The River Warren, and Witness of Combines. He is a recipient of an ALA Alex Award, two Minnesota Book Awards, and a Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association Award. Meyers has been published in a wide array of prestigious magazines, including The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Quarterly West, and Black Warrior Review. He lives in South Dakota.

Lights on a Ground of Darkness-Midwest Connections

October 13, 2009


Lights on a Ground of Darkness

Ted Kooser

Like the yellow, pink, and blue irises that had been transplanted from house to house over the years, the stories of poet Ted Kooser’s family had been handed down until, as his mother lay ill and dying, he felt an urgency to write them down. With a poet’s eye for detail, Kooser captures the beauty of the landscape and the vibrancy of his mother’s Iowa family, the Mosers, in precise, evocative language.

The center of the family’s love is Kooser’s uncle, Elvy, a victim of cerebral palsy. Elvy’s joys are fishing, playing pinochle, and drinking soda from the ice chest at his father’s roadside Standard Oil station. Kooser’s grandparents, their kin, and the activities and pleasures of this extended family spin out and around the armature of Elvy’s blessed life.
Kooser has said that writing this book was the most important work he has ever undertaken because it was his attempt to keep these beloved people alive against the relentless erosion of time.


Ted Kooser, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and former U.S. poet laureate, is Presidential Professor of the University of Nebraska. He is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Valentines(Nebraska 2008) and The Blizzard Voices (available in a Bison Books edition). ValentinesBlizzard Voices, and Delights and Shadows (Copper Canyon Press) are all past winners of the Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award for poetry.

His award-winning prose book, Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps, is also available in a Bison Books edition.

Nico & Lola- Midwest Connections

October 13, 2009

Nico & Lola

April 19, 2009

Nico & Lola:nico-lolacover-color-lowresphoto
Kindness Shared Between a Boy and a Dog

By Meggan Hill
Photographs by Susan M. Graunke

Genuine Prints LLC
Available May 2009
ISBN: 978-0-615-23040-5
$16.95 Hardcover


“This is a precious book. Nico is so mild mannered and cute, and Lola, a small Pug, is adorable. The photos are clean and well lit with vibrant colors. The text emphasizes the importance of being kind and the many ways that one can choose to be kind. The book reinforces responsibility and thoughtfulness without being preachy. It is perfect for the target ages and will help teach good tot/pet relationships. We rated it five hearts.”
– Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews and The Book Barn, Leavenworth, KS

“My favorite part of the story is when Nico hugged Lola good-bye. He was going to miss her after his Aunt Sue picked-up Lola after her vacation. I really liked all of the pictures a lot. The best picture is of Nico and Lola walking with neighbor friends in the park. I enjoyed reading this book because it was full of nice things and friends. “Nico & Lola” … is a good book about how to treat animals in your care. I learned how to show caring and kindness to animals. You should always give your dog water on a warm day after running a lot.
– Madeline McElroy, age 7 1/2,

“This delightful book not only takes a unique approach to teaching children the concept of kindness but draws an immediate connection through the use of photographs of real people and animals. Listening to their conversation about the book, you realize the fun they had in writing this story and the passion they share for bringing strong lessons into clear view for parents, grandparents and teachers. NICO AND LOLA is a must have book for children. It is a story that my granddaughter loves hearing over and over again. She thinks Lola is “so cute” and loves seeing Nico hold Lola’s paw. I guarantee this is one of the best children’s books around…”
– Eularee Smith,

“A picture book with a purpose: A series of precious photographs of a toddler gently interacting with a pug teaches young children to be kind to animals.”
Kirkus Reviews

“How can I be so kind?” Nico searches his heart to find different ways to be kind when taking care of an adorable dog named Lola. There is an undeniable connection between Nico and Lola. They share much more than just their similar small stature and dark chocolate colored eyes. Nico and Lola share kindness. Tender messages are hidden among the extraordinary photographs displayed on every page. This unique book reminds readers of all ages we can always be just a little bit kinder in everything we do. This is a story to read, share and forever carry in your heart.

About the Author and Photographermegganheadshot


“As a mom I wanted to write a memorable story that would give parents and schools teachable moments about what kindness really is and where it leads.  Nico and Lola is a journey of friendship between a child and a dog and the kindness shared between this precocious pair.  This book is one boy’s dilemma of what it means to be “so kind” and all his efforts, his heart, and ultimately his growth.”

Meggan Hill is a graduate of the University of San Diego with a degree in Psychology. She has two young children and cherishes raising them in the presence of their beloved animals.  Hill is passionate about stories which give meaningful messages to young minds and young hearts and believes that kindness can be inspired by anyone, even an adorable, little pug with a “curly-whirly tail.” This is her first book.

Nico and Lola still enjoy time together – playing tag, sharing special snacks and taking naps on their favorite blanket. They continue to be the very best kind of friends.

SUSAN M. GRAUNKE pressphoto1

”It was such a special time,  photographing Nico and Lola together.  I must say it was very challenging but what I learned was this;  all I had to do was be in the right place at the right time.  Even though the idea of kindness is abstract, it was actually right there happening in front of me the whole time I was shooting the images for NICO AND LOLA.”

Susan M. Graunke is the owner of Kickapoo Farms in Barrington, Illinois.  She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and began studying photography in 2006. She is an avid outdoors woman and golfer who lives in Barrington, Illinois with her husband Terence and their pet dogs.  The couple has two grown children.

Meggan Hill and Susan M. Graunke enjoy interacting with children on every level, encouraging them to explore the worlds of reading and writing.  Meggan and Susan believe the more you educate the mind, the more you educate the heart.  They hope their message of kindness resonates with students, teachers and school communities.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days

October 12, 2009

9780810983915_3dOn sale today.

It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn.

Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.”

Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything?


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers