Magic Bookshelf Online

Exploring the Children’s Reading World with Parents and Educators –

New Magic Bookshelf review September 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jbmcqueen @ 8:49 am

Robert McCarty, author of the Planet of the Dogs series, is not only a fan of dogs but of The New Magic Bookshelf! Here’s what he has to say in his recent Amazon review:

“This exceptional book offers insights, guidelines and recommendations to help teachers, parents and grandparents find the optimum way to bring children into the wonderful world of books.

“The writing is clear and lucid, the concepts embrace a wide range of relevant and practical thinking, and all the content is driven by an appreciation and love of reading.

“The book is filled with original ideas. The writer, Janie McQueen, has a backgound in the study of children’s literature, personal experiences with her own family and a passion for children’s books and the potential they awaken in young readers. ”

Thanks Robert!

posted by Janie McQueen, author of The New Magic Bookshelf: Finding Great Books Your Child Will Treasure Forever


New from Reading Rooster Recommends[TM] March 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jbmcqueen @ 8:27 am

Here’s the latest from our friend Reading Rooster, Helen Fellers of the SC State Library. Every webisode of Reading Rooster Recommends[TM] is entertaining in itself, but Helen’s shrewd children’s book recommendations are even more worth tuning in for. Watch, then visit our store at to get a closer look at the books. (Check under Reading Rooster titles!)

Have a great day,



Welcome Magic Bookshelf Digest subscribers! March 8, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — jbmcqueen @ 11:50 am

Hi Magic Bookshelf Digest subscribers! Thanks for following us onto the blog. We’ll make it worth your while!

If you’d like to be alerted about new posts, you can subscribe to this blog by signing up for RSS feed (on the toolbar to the right). Or, just bookmark and check back often.

Feel free to contact me anytime, either by posting a comment directly to this blog, or visiting!

Here’s to making the most of our time so we can read more books! ūüėČ



Reading Rooster‚ĄĘ Rocks! September 22, 2008

I’m so glad I happened to websurf a little before posting today because it gave me the opportunity to start off the week with a bang. Or a crow, as it were.

I’m¬†excited to share with you Reading Rooster Recommends‚ĄĘ,¬†a program of the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy. It’s a regular, usually bi-weekly, broadcast on YouTube and TeacherTube,¬†with coordinator Helen Fellers (aka Reading Rooster‚ĄĘ)¬†recommending a wide, well-chosen variety of children’s books both for the classroom and home.

Check it out:

Helen has an extensive background as a juvenile literacy advocate not only as a librarian but a buyer for bookstores including Barnes and Noble. She thus has a terrific feel for both older and brand-new titles coming out. This is the perfect blend of expertise for parents and teachers who find themselves lost in the crush of juvenile book merchandising, wondering how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Be sure to check out past broadcasts too.¬†The July 31 video discusses children’s books¬†about the American Revolution,¬†including Independent Dames: What You Never Knew About the Women and Girls of the American Revolution by¬†Laurie Hulse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner.

posted by Janie McQueen, author of The New Magic Bookshelf: Finding Great Books Your Child Will Treasure Forever



Kids’ Election Suggestions September 20, 2008

I blogged last week about presidential election books I don’t recommend for children (because these titles are¬†really just campaign propaganda disguised as juvenile nonfiction — and one so-called biography I’d go as far as to classify as straight fiction).

But in sorting out some Caldecott and Newbery-award winning books for the Magic Bookshelf store, I ran across two real winners — one from each of these highly respected award programs at that.

From the picture book category (for which Caldecotts are generally awarded, primarily for illustrations) comes 2001’s So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small. This very fun and approachable book for ages 7+ serves up lots of trivia and humorous anecdotes about what being elected President really does take (and not always what you think).

For example, being named James (like six former presidents) is a help (I’ll be sure to tell that to my older son, James Riley); as is being¬†born in a humble dwelling. A log cabin, preferably, like the birthplaces of a whopping eight Presidents. (Would¬†a¬†triplex apartment in midtown Atlanta, circa post-WWII count as humble enough? I’m still thinking¬†about¬†young Riley’s chances.)

Best of all, the Presidents have come not only from all walks of life but all kinds of occupational backgrounds. I certainly never knew Andrew Johnson had been a tailor, nor that he didn’t learn to read until the ripe old age of 14.

Moving on to the Newbery winner, and a rarity here because Newberys typically are awarded for fiction, is Russell Freedman’s lovely 1988 work, Lincoln: A Photobiography.

Lincoln offers plenty of text for older elementary-age and middle school readers, but includes fascinating photos to go with the full coverage of Lincoln’s life, as well as samples of the former President’s writing. One interesting page illustrates the ravaging effects the Presidential post has on aging.

So when stocking a home or classroom library, or searching your local library catalog for books to satisfy the curiosity of young election-followers, I’d urge parents and teachers to stay clear of the newer spun-sugar offerings and go for the real meat and potatoes.

posted by Janie McQueen, author of The New Magic Bookshelf: Finding Great Books Your Child Will Treasure Forever