This is late news, but we just want to congratulate our friend Natalie Standiford, author of the wonderful new novel The Secret Tree, for her glowing Times review. The Secret Tree is one of our absolute favorite books of the year and we hope it will be yours, too. Well done, Natalie. 

Here’s our favorite excerpt from the review:

Natalie Standiford (“How to Say Goodbye in Robot”) harks back to the time when helicopter parents didn’t exist and free-range children didn’t return home until dusk. Is there a middle-class neighborhood in America where parents fling open the back door and 10-year-olds roam free until supper? Yet “The Secret Tree” is also a very contemporary tale, one that deals with changing friendships, sibling relations, betrayal and neglectful parenting — while still imbuing childhood with a sense of mystery.

It reminds us of what our very sharp teen reviewer, Diana R., said about the book just the other day:

I think that one of the reasons it was good was that some of the elements of the book are definitely from the present, but other aspects would definitely be from a long time ago. I think it’s great that she combines all these elements and makes them from her own time period. I think that the book has a pretty good moral: everybody has flaws. I think the writer really shows that even the people who seem flawless aren’t always.

Our thoughts exactly. Buy this book. Read it on the grass. Read it in your backyard (or fire escape, New Yorkers) while the fireflies are out. It is imbued with simple, neighborhood magic. And it won’t let you down.

"It’s generally assumed that girls can aspire to be like Harry Potter or Spider-Man, or can at least embrace their adventures without undermining their own femininity. But at least within marketing divisions of the culture industry, it is an article of faith that boys won’t pretend to be princesses. Unless, maybe, the princesses are armed."

— A.O. Scott in Katniss Everdeen, a New Type of Woman Warrior - NYTimes.com (via housingworksbookstore)

(via housingworksbookstore)

In new picture books, one crocodile stands out in workaday Oslo; another watches as other species disappear from the wild.

(As a native Floridian, I’m partial to these readable reptiles.)

This bodes well for my career! A New York Times article says many E-book-loving parents insist their children read “dead-tree books.”
“I know I’m a Luddite on this, but there’s something very personal about a book and not one of one thousand files on an iPad, something that’s connected and emotional, something I grew up with and that I want them to grow up with.” 
Along the same lines, studies have shown that reading from printed books has measurable advantages for learning over reading from a screen.
Not to mention, books smell better than iPads.

This bodes well for my career! A New York Times article says many E-book-loving parents insist their children read “dead-tree books.”

“I know I’m a Luddite on this, but there’s something very personal about a book and not one of one thousand files on an iPad, something that’s connected and emotional, something I grew up with and that I want them to grow up with.” 

Along the same lines, studies have shown that reading from printed books has measurable advantages for learning over reading from a screen.

Not to mention, books smell better than iPads.