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#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
The only book I’ve ever finished, turned over, and immediately started reading again. – Lauren Martino
Magical. Thrilling. As a kid, I loved that it stretched my brain. Other dimensions! Time travel! Oh how I loved the “Aunt Beast” creatures — how in a world with no eyes, the inhabitants would never anticipate the existence of sight. I spent hours upon hours trying to imagine other senses *we* don’t have, and so would never anticipate. – Aaron Zenz
This is my number one for very personal reasons—it made such an impact on me as an awkward preteen. I loved Meg for all her imperfections and total loyalty and love for her family. – Heather Christensen
This book takes on the Big Issues of life in a way that makes kids feel like a part of things. Whereas many adults talk down to kids, or assume they can’t understand, L’Engle dives right into the heart of religion, faith, hope, fear, time, and space and gives kids room to ponder those Big Issues within the safe confines of a story. There is a lot to take away from the book, and I notice something new each time I read it, but my favorite thing, time and again, is how Meg’s flaws become her strength. All kids have times when they feel plain, ugly, or out of place, and L’Engle does them a great service by turning those negative feelings into their own kind of superpower. – Katie Ahearn
I can’t say why this book was a favorite of mine, but I think it had to do with relating to Meg Murray. I was nerdy and shy and temperamental and Meg got to go on a cool adventure. How could I not like that book? – Sarah (Green Bean Teen Queen)
I just helped celebrate this book’s 50th anniversary, and rereading it reminded me why it endures. An oddball blend of science fiction, fantasy, and even religion, A Wrinkle in Time continues to touch the Megs of this world, who are in need of all kinds of hope. “So you’re a klutz. You can still change the world. And there will be people who love you, people you love back.” It’s a message that will always matter. – Kate Coombs
This science fantasy leaves you with a wonderful feeling of joy. I didn’t discover it until I was a Sophomore in college, and I will always feel indebted to the person who recommended it to me. – Sondra Eklund
This book is perfect for those smarter than average girls that don’t quite know where they fit in. Despite its stereotypically bad opening line (“It was a dark and stormy night…”) it is a story of rare imagination that shows a battle of good and evil involving higher mathematics, mysterious magical beings, and evil principals- and in this case the girl saves the day! – Christine Kelly
How excited am I for the 50th anniversary? So excited I threw a birthday party for it at my library. So excited I’m writing a year-long series of blog posts on the subject. So excited I’d been PLANNING FOR IT for over a year. Because this is THAT BOOK for me, that ONE BOOK. – A.M. Weir
I was positive that she wrote this book just for me. – Mary Friedrichs
Yeah. I loved it too. This one was dear to me. Alongside Harriet the Spy and The Girl With the Silver Eyes (note what all three girls have in common) it was one of my favorites. And yep, I have read it since I became an adult. I still love it. Just do.
The plot f
#2 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1979)
One of the very few pictures books that is just perfect – language appropriate, interactive, a great story, a counting exercise and a science lesson all rolled together. – Pat Vasilik
Carle is a genius, pure and simple. Is there a 5 year old alive who isn’t familiar with this book? The caterpillar is the poster child for greed. – DeAnn Okamura
Eric Carle is a genius, and without a doubt this is his greatest book. - Hotspur Closser
Concept book perfection. – DaNae Leu
One wonders if this book would have done quite so well on this poll had it been known by its original title: A Week With Willie Worm. No. I’m actually not kidding about this one. Granted, “A Week With Willie Worm” is exactly the kind of fake title I would come up with if I were feeling cheeky, but back in the late 60s Carle thought this was a legitimate name to go with. The whole caterpillar concept didn’t really occur at first. We, the general public, got lucky. Now we find ourselves nearing the end of the Top 100 Poll, and voila! Here is the iconic insect with his big expressionless eyes and his frighteningly popular standing in the hearts and minds of adults and children everywhere.
The book’s description from B&N reads, “A caterpillar hatches out of his egg and is very hungry. On his first day, he eats through one piece of food; on his second, two, and so on. Little holes cut in the pages allow toddlers to wiggle their fingers through the food, just like the caterpillar. Vivid and colorful illustrations and ingenious layered pages help preschoolers learn the days of the week, how to count, and how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.”
100 Best Books for Children discusses the Willie Worm dilemma, and places the credit of changing it to a caterpillar firmly in the camp of editor Ann Beneduce who suggested the switcheroo. It is also interesting to note that, “Although no printer in the United States could be found to manufacture economically a book with so many die cuts, Beneduce located a printer in Japan who was able to produce the book.” Apparently Carle got the idea for different shaped pages from the books he read when he was a child in Germany.
When asked in an interview with Metro.co.uk why the book was such a success, Carle had this to say: “My guess is it’s a book of hope. That you, an insignificant, ugly little caterpillar can grow up and eventually unfold your talent, and fly into the world. As a child, you can feel small and helpless and wonder if you’ll ever grow up. So that might be part of its success. But those thoughts came afterwards, a kind of psychobabble in retrospect. I didn’t start out and say: ‘I want to make a really meaningful book’.” I like his use of the term “psychobabble”. There’s also a truly wonderful Guardian article on Mr. Carle talking about his early years and discussing this book as well. “The book’s success has spawned a lot of crank interpretations. It has been described as an allegory of both Christianity and capitalism. ‘Right after the Wall fell, I was signing books in the former East Germany and was invited by a group of young librarians to have lunch with them. One said the caterpillar is capitalist, he eats int
A mid-week Audiobook meme over at Devourer of Books today! Link up your post to win a prize!
Current/most recent audiobook:
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I'm on disc 14 of 20, so almost to the end!
I'm enjoying it quite a bit, but there have definitely been a few points that were slow for me. Unfortunately, I had an unexpected house guest interrupt my listening time (not really unfortunate about the guest, just the lack of audio time!), so the actual listening is going slowly too, which may not help.
The narrator is excellent at multiple accents, which I'm really appreciating.
Current/most favorite recent audiobook:
I really did love The Help. I wish I could say something a bit more obscure, so you'll all go out and grab a book you haven't yet read, but that was a hands down favorite. So good!
Favorite narrator you've discovered recently:
I loved Karen White's reading of The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen. She did a beautiful job.
One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack or your audio wishlist:
I really want to re-listen to the Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke. I listened about 4 years ago and LOVED it. It's read by Brendan Frasier and I can still remember exactly where I was when I listened to specific scenes. A great book series and a great listen.
Why is it so much harder to blog in the summer than during the school year? It’s like when my to-do list decreases to 20 million things instead of 50 million things, I… Read More
Rose, Caroline Starr. 2012. May B
. New York: Random House.
In Kansas' early days as a state, there is no help in the prairie schools for a child with what will later become known as dyslexia. Nor is there help for a farmer whose spring wheat crop has failed.
So it is neither unforseen, nor unusual when the parents of Mavis Elizabeth Betterly, May B., literally "farm her out" as hired help to a prairie neighbor. Hiram, the Betterly's son, will stay at home, he, being of more use to the frontier family.
The closest homestead is 15 miles away, a full day's journey by wagon. Young May Betterly passes the long hours to the Oblinger's simple, sod house that will be her home until Christmas,
I play a game inside my head,
counting plum trees that dot a creek bed,
rabbits that scatter at the sound of wagon wheels,
clouds that skirt the sky.
For hours, that is all,
in different shades and textures
like the braids in a rag rug.
Miss Sanders told us that lines never end,
and numbers go on foresver.
in short-grass country,
I understand infinity.
When Mrs, Oblinger takes a horse and deserts her new husband to return east, Mr. Oblinger goes off in pursuit.
"Don't worry about supper," he says. "I could be gone some time."
"Some time" will be longer than May could ever have dreamed. It will take all of her courage, strength and perseverance to survive.
I am afraid
in the dark
I am afraid
In similar style to Karen Hesse's Newbery-winning, Out of the Dust
, and Witness,
Caroline Starr Rose's novel in verse is deeply affecting. May's honesty in assessing her shortcomings is balanced by her inner optimism that she may yet overcome her situation - against all odds.
We all share that struggle. May B. gives voice and hope to us all.Teacher's Study Guide for May B.Note: The librarians of the NJLA's Children's Services Section will likely be discussing this book in the upcoming months on our new mock award blog, Newbery Blueberry Mockery Pie. Please join us.
Title: Temple Run: Brave
Platform: iOS and Android
I’m excited to see Pixar’s new movie Brave. I have plans to go on Friday. One of the things that makes Pixar’s movies great, is that they have such broad appeal. Kids, teens, adults, everybody wants to see the new Pixar movie. And everybody will have an opinion about it so we can use it as a conversation starter for the rest of the summer. If you are not already excited about Brave, go watch this trailer, and then come back here and have a look at this game.
While I was being excited about Brave, I was chatting with one of the teen pages who work at my library. She recommended the new Brave inspired version of the immensely popular Temple Run. ”The graphics are like ten times better,” she said.
If you’re not familiar with Temple Run, it is a fast paced game that demands quick reflexes as you guide your Indiana Jones-esque jungle adventurer in his escape from ravenous monkeys. You control his movements by swiping your touch screen left or right to turn, up to jump, or down to slide. You must also tilt your device to collect coins that may balance precariously on the edges of your path. You need to be quick or you will meet a brutal end by falling in water, crashing into an obstacle, or getting eaten by monkeys.
In Temple Run: Brave, you are transported to the Scottish Highlands in lush detail, guiding Merida and her wild red hair through the twists and turns of the game. Your pursuer is the giant bear from the movie, adorned with the spears of its fallen enemies, and eager to catch you and eat you. Epic music sets the tone for your run. The controls are the same for the most part, but an added archery feature adds flavor and challenge. The graphics are indeed stunning, almost as detailed as what you’d expect from the big screen, and the gameplay is just as exciting and frustrating as the original. Check out a trailer for the game here.
A great summer game for waiting in line to see, what I hope will be, a great summer movie.
Welcome back to the YALSA blog. For more app recommendations, visit the App of the Week Archive.
By: Becky Laney
Blog: Becky's Book Reviews
(Login to Add to MyJacketFlap
, YA Fiction
, J Realistic Fiction
, review copy
, J Mystery
, YA Mystery
, Penguin USA
, Books reviewed in 2012
, dysfunctional families
, YA realistic fiction
, Add a tag
Kepler's Dream. Juliet Bell. 2012. Penguin. 256 pages.It was the middle of the night, and that's not a time when you want to be hearing strange noises. I don't care how brave you are. No one wants to be restless and almost-sleep, then rustled awake by a thudding overhead and the feeling that someone is trying to get into the room.
Ella, our heroine, is visiting a grandmother she's never met, her paternal grandmother. Her father, whom she barely knows, does not get along with his mother. But Ella has to spend the summer with someone since her mother will be undergoing treatment for her leukemia. (She'll be receiving a bone marrow transplant, I believe.) And her grandmother is her last option, her only option.
Ella's first impressions of her grandmother, of her grandmother's house, are priceless. But through the course of a summer, the eccentricity and quirks of her grandmother have become familiar and comfortable. And she's made other friends as well.
Kepler's Dream is about a dysfunctional family who has a rather unique opportunity to heal, to mend, to come together. Could Ella help bring her father and grandmother together again? Perhaps. For Ella who has never really known her grandmother and does not really know her father, it's an unique opportunity, for she'll get a chance to get to know them, to get to love them, to make them a part of her family.
But Kepler's Dream is also a mystery. And Ella's curiosity and determination to solve the mystery, to learn WHO stole her grandmother's precious book, Kepler's Dream, is the beginning of that opportunity. This mystery is the catalyst for a family to come together again.
I liked this one. I definitely liked it. There were places I just loved it. I liked the narrative voice, how Ella's reading influences her as a narrator. I love her grandmother's bookish lifestyle, and how she's always getting book deliveries. I liked how these relationships, friendships, happened naturally--nothing forced, nothing instant, nothing magical. I loved getting to know Ella at a very vulnerable time in her life. The thing I absolutely LOVED about this one were Ella's letters to her mom.
Read Kepler's Dream
- If you like bookish heroines
- If you like children's mysteries
- If you like family books, plenty of drama but heart as well
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
Early jobs of famous authors at mental_floss.
There's a slideshow at the WSJ.
My only question: NO BETSY BIRD??
When it comes down to it, women seem to show more reading shame about reading specific genres. Men either a) also read those genres but don’t buy them or read them in public (with a few exceptions), or b) aren’t shamed about what they read as much as women are. I suspect it’s the latter. Basically, if men read “unliterary” but stereotypically masculine genres, it’s fine. If women read “unliterary” but stereotypically feminine genres, it’s deserving of a brown paper bag in the form of increased e-reader sales so you can read in public in peace.
Some of the stories in the column (and in the comments section) made me think of the Christmas season during my tween years in which my music-aficionado father was horribly, horribly embarrassed at the prospect of being seen purchasing a NKOTB cassette.
"Méfiez-vous des gens dont on dit qu'ils ont le coeur sur la main. Comme ce n'est pas sa place, demandez-vous ce qu'ils peuvent bien avoir à la place du coeur."
Pierre-Jean Vaillard, chansonnier, écrivain, comédien de théâtre et de radio (1918-1988)
"Many who have spent a lifetime in it can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday."
Thornton Wilder, writer (1897-1975)
So City of a Thousand Dolls, by Miriam Forster, doesn't come out till February 2013, but that just gives me time to read all the other books in the house and really be ready for it!
Here's why I want it: it sounds like a fantasy boarding school for orphan girls mystery with cats and romance. "Isolated estate" is also a bonus feature.
"Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life."
Blog: Secrets & Sharing Soda
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level: middle grade
, read 2012
, format: ebook
, source: barnes and noble website
, author: coco simon
, series: cupcake diaries
, published 2011
, publisher: simon and schuster
, genre: realistic fiction
, Add a tag
Katie and the Cupcake Cure. by Coco Simon. May 3, 2011. Simon and Schuster. 160 pages. ISBN: 9781442422766
Katie never spent any of her summer vacation worrying about the start of middle school, so she is more surprised than anyone when her best friend, Callie, ditches her on the first day to join The Popular Girls Club (PGC). Katie is really upset, but she channels her sadness into baking cupcakes, a pastime she and her mom have shared over the years. Eventually, her cupcakes lead her to a group of new friends - Mia, Alexis, and Emma - who join with her to form a cupcake club and business.
Though this book is set in middle school, it’s actually written to appeal to a younger audience. Girls in grades 3 to 5 who enjoy the Baby-sitters Club, How I Survived Middle School and similar series are the most likely candidates to read this one, and their parents will be pleased to have them do it. Not only does the story portray involved moms who are strongly attuned to their daughters’ social lives, but the girls themselves have wholesome interests, positive attitudes, and strong work ethics. They’re not caught up in fashion, cliqueishness or (at least in this volume) boys. They maintain a sense of innocence and focus on the good they can do instead of how to exact revenge on their popular enemies.
The writing in this book is similar to that in other paperback series - mostly generic, with no real frills - but that isn’t necessarily a problem. Everybody needs a little fluff now and then, and younger tweens looking to ease into their summer reading will - excuse the pun - eat these up. Only two things might cause confusion. One is that the series is not written in diary format, even thought it’s called Cupcake Diaries. The other is that there is another series available now that is called The Cupcake Club
, but which is not related to this series. It seems that no matter which one I’m searching for on Barnes and Noble’s website, I get the other one, so it’s a good idea to keep track of the authors if you’re looking for these in the bookstore or library. Katie and the Cupcake Cure
was originally published in 2011, followed by Mia in the Mix
, Emma on Thin Icing
, Alexis and the Perfect Recipe
, and Katie, Batter Up
. The most recent additions to the series are Mia’s Baker Dozen
, published in February 2012, and Emma All Stirred Up
, published in April 2012. New books will continue to be published through the end of this year, as follows: Alexis Cool as a Cupcake
(June 26), Katie and the Cupcake War
(August 21), Mia’s Boiling Point
(October 16), and Emma, Smile and Say “Cupcake!”
Visit Simon Spotlight’s Cupcake Diaries page
to learn more about the books and view the adorable trailer. I purchased Katie and the Cupcake Cure from Barnes and Noble for my Nook.
I rank my books according to cookies--the normal way 1-5.
(Actually, I never use anything lower then 3 because that would probably be books I never even finish so why would I rate or review them?)
But, there is actually another system underneath the basic 1-5 cookie system.
And that is the KINDS of cookies I use to rate the books I review.
The ultimate is normally when I rate a book:
5 warm chocolate chip cookies dipped in milk.
That is normally this highest.
But my very favorite cookies are Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip cookies. So, if I rate a cookie:5 oatmeal butterscotch chip cookies
then that is normally even higher than the warm chocolate chip cookies dipped in milk.
Most other cookies are ones I like so I use them interchangeably with 3, 4 and even 5 ratings:
I love to bake and my family loves to eat the cookies I bake so it's a win/win for everyone!
What is your favorite cookie? What would be the cookie you would use for the highest rating for a book you loved?