The coolest part of Yellow Ball by Molly Bang

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Yellow Ball by Molly Bang. Pg 19.

Yesterday, I was meeting with a fellow teacher friend of mine at Codman Academy in Dorchester, MA. The high school students were performing and competing in monologues written by playwright August Wilson. That’s not even the coolest part. The coolest part is that this high school had a shelf of picture books with a sign that read: ‘Free Books. Help Yourself.’…or something like that.

I jest, because that too is not even the coolest part. The coolest part is, along with a couple copies of Frog and Toad, there was a hardcover edition of Molly Bang’s out-of-print book, Yellow Ball, first published in 1991. I don’t know what year it stopped being published, but I do know that I now own a copy of this book.

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Last march, when I became a Molly Bang fan, after discovering The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher at the used book store, Back Pages Books in Waltham, MA. , I sought after other titles written by Molly Bang. I perused her website. She has oodles of picture books listed on her website. She also has a page of “out-of-print” titles that includes a couple dozen out-of-print picture books! Her books are unique. I’ve been longing to get my hands on one of her out-of-print books for I have never read any of them. Sure I could buy old copies for all kinds of prices, on ebay or amazon, but I prefer to stumble upon books, rather than break bank.

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An image of Molly Bang’s out-of-print titles. Image found on her website. http://www.mollybang.com

Check out Molly Bang’s website here:

The oddest part of my copy of Yellow Ball, is that there is no publishing information inside the book. No year of publication, no edition, no publisher’s name. It’s as if it is an artist’s proof. A sample. The first print. Isn’t that the coolest?

Thank you for reading The Picture Book Pusher

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A Picture Book A Day: Day 6 Lil’ Man Makes a Name for Himself

LILMAN MAKES a NAME for HIMSELF by Caleb Neelon a.k.a Sonik
Published by Cantab publishing, Cambridge, MA. 2004
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Purchased at: ?? I know that I got it at a second hand store. It was several  months ago. It was either the Goodwill on Melnea Cass in Boston, or Back Pages books in Waltham, MA., or Brookline Booksmith’s basement used book store (although I no longer shop at Brookline Booksmith because they are a HUGE supporter of the book Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes. Blech.)
Rating: 6 out of 5 stars. For it’s writing, ability to engage children, ability to ignite production and creativity in children, and for it’s illustrations. This is a definite favorite of mine.
This was not my first time reading this story. The first time I read it to my students was last month, during the last week of school.
I now know that this story will most definitely be part of my Fall curriculum beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, when we are building classroom community and learning about each other. This book is a must have, for elementary school teachers. It is all about self expression, and identity. The concept of the book is spot-on ingeniousness.  The protagonist, Lilman, doesn’t think his name looks right, it’s not ‘him’ enough. So he sets out to create his name the way it should look.  He then inspires all his school friends to become individuals and make a name for themselves too. The moral of the story is: You too can make a name for yourself.
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This book is hard to find, but you can buy it straight from the author 1 of 2 ways: Either through his personal website (by emailing him and asking him to purchase a copy), or through his amazon.com account, you can get a signed copy. His amazon.com seller name is Calebfunk. The links are below:
Author Caleb Neelon is better known as SONIK. SONIK is an extremely successful street artist, with murals and projects on several continents. Check out a little bit of what he does here: http://calebneelon.com/projects/
Thanks for reading.
– The Picture Book Pusher