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I post what I think about books, children's and adult's, and what is going on in my life as a librarian and a storyteller.
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1. The authors are coming!! The authors are coming!!!


Emily is just one of FOUR awesome children's authors at the KU Children's lit Conference

 This is the latest that I have ever gone in finishing my KU Children's Literature Conference booklist.  I am embarrassed at the lateness.  But it IS done - except for the inevitable addendum or addenda.  Maybe I'll skip those this year.  And you can find it here.

You can find the KUCLC's website here, too.  Show up early (7:30 to 8:30 am) on Saturday if you haven't pre-registered.  The cost is ONLY $50 for a day of children's book fantasticality!  This year Kutztown hosts Daniel Kirk, Andrea Davis Pinkney, Emily Arnold McCully and Jonathan Bean.


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2. Prison life






All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook  by Leslie Connor has a good chance of being my favorite book of the year - Top 5, for sure.

Perry was born and raised in Blue River Co-Educational Correctional Institute.  His mother discovered she was pregnant after she was incarcerated.  The warden had herself named as the foster parent in order to keep Perry and his mom together.

That's the thing about Blue River.  Warden Daugherty believes in treating the residents fairly and with respect.  The residents, most of them, return the respect and work together to overcome the flaws that landed them in jail.

Perry has attended public school his entire life.  But when he enters middle school, someone decides he needs a "real" family.  Finally "outside", Perry only wants to be back with his mother and his family at Blue River.

A school project on local history gives Perry a chance to get the whole story behind his mother's arrest and sentence.   His research opens the eyes of at least one classmate.

When he suspects that someone who claims to be looking into his mother's case is talking through his hat, Perry devises a genius "trap".  

I suggest that you locate your tissues before you get too far into this book.  There are several moving melancholy scenes in here.

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3. Love this trailer, please.

Please, love this clever book trailer about How This Book Was Made  by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex was made.

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4. Princesses Don't Wear Black???

FPO ImageI just discovered The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale with illustrations by LeUyen Pham!  I'm in extreme LIKE!!!  This series for our youngest chapter book readers is funny and feeds into the princess-mania that makes some grandmothers - those who came of age in the 1960s, for instance - break out in rashes.  Princess Magnolia is dimply, pink and perfect UNTIL the kingdom's goats are threatened by MONSTERS.  And then, she and her unicorn, Frimplepants, transform into an amazing duo of monster repelling powers.  I love the name Frimplepants.  Just saying.

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5. Cats??!!

I just read a review of the book Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell and put it on my to-read list. (That list is so long, I will need a prolonged convalescence to ever get through it all - or possibly a life of leisure.)  And then I find this!!!


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6. Skunks and Balloons!! Book trailer

It's Monday.  It's raining.  So, here's a book trailer from Owl Books in Canada.

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7. 4 More Books Read

1. The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce was sooo good.  But the author's note at the end was almost as good as the book!

Rory Rooney has been thrown off the bus by Tommy-Lee ever day.  Still, when Tommy-Lee has an extreme allergic reaction from eating Rory's lunch - without Rory's permission, I might add - and Tommy-Lee is taken away in an ambulance, everyone blames Rory!!!  Tommy-Lee's friends throw Rory into a stream and when he stands up, Rory is completely green.  Now, it's his turn to be carried off to the hospital.

But Rory is prepared.  His favorite bedtime story is his mother's book, Don't Be Scared. Be Prepared.  Rory's mom is all about being prepared.

Rory is in the isolation ward at the hospital.  But he's not alone.  Oh, no.... he and his roommate are in for astounding adventures of the superhero-ish sort.  As London squirms in the grasp of the Killer Kitten virus, two - or is it more? - green children prepare to Save The World.

 Need a break from whatever ails you?  This book will help.

2. For another look at lunacy, we have Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky

Four Fans of the Ruperts - a boy band - somehow end up with one of the Ruperts, tied up in their hotel room.  Fangirl fantasy come true!!  Squeeee, or whatever.  His phone alone is a treasure trove of awesomely...oh no, what's this??  And when the narrator comes clean about the whole event, who will pay the price of the long night's misadventures?

The lunacy in Moldavsky's book is creepy.  I ended up skimming the book because:
1.  The teens are unbelievably shallow, narcissistic and cruel.

2.  It's a little too mean to be funny, I think.

That said, I am NOT a teenage girl.  It is way too long since I screamed over a boy band.  Back then,  social media was a phone with a long cord and my Mom's kitchen timer.  So, what do I know?  Right?  Definitely for teens.  And the fans on Goodreads like it a lot.  Dark humor, they say.

3. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks.   In a medieval city in the Orient, Kaidu is learning to fight.  The city has changed hands so often, that its natives call it the Nameless City.  Kaidu is part of the conqueror's army.  When he ventures into the city, he meets a girl who calls herself Rat.  They don't trust each other but Rat shows Kaidu things about the City that he can't learn behind the fort's walls.  When a threat comes from inside the fort walls, Kaidu and Rat must work together as a team.

This graphic novel moves so seamlessly that I didn't notice the lack of words.  Actually, as I type this, I realize that since reading this book, action scenes in text books take so long.  No wonder graphic novels are so hot.  Thanks, Faith Erin Hicks, for furthering my understanding of this genre.

4.  An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet. This book had to be read, word for word.  The struggle between Halfrida and her sister, Marthe, and their fight to keep their farm needs to be explained.  An artist might be able to show the pain, anger, stubbornness and pride on each young woman's face but Bobet's words made this stew of emotions all too real to me.  Insert these women into a war ravaged countryside, with a missing husband, and strange unearthly beings and you get a fantasy that speaks volumes about how people do and do not get along.

There is the mystery soldier who asks for somewhere to stay; the unearthly creatures; the aftermath of a war against the Wicked God; the search for a missing hero; Marthe's pining for her husband; Hallie's secret-keeping and her fear.  Also a fledgling romance and three cheers for scientific method and investigation. (Sentence fragment, I know.  Deal.) There's some heavy stuff going on in this book.   I liked it!

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8. Blackthorn Key


The book is so much better - truly.  The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands.

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9. Wrinkles and abandoned buildings

I finished You Were Here by Cori McCarthy the other night and it was so satisfying!  Told in alternating voices, this is a story of grief and stubbornness and the need to put the past to rest.  Serious stuff!  McCarthy's mix of characters, words and graphics spins this book right along. 
          I worried at first that this would just be another "dead family member" book.  Then it morphed into a book about meeting unrealistic expectations and then it turned into a graphic novel and the whole time this group of five teens are fighting, musing, obsessing, and engaging in risky behavior - lots and lots of risky, perilous, dare-devil behavior.  (Definitely Teen Readers!)

So read it.  It is emotionally manipulating, but most good books are.  And the resolution is realistic and, as I mentioned before, satisfying.

The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet is a wrinkled book.  Linny lives in Lourka where no trail is a straight line - or even the same from trip to trip.  Here stories can change reality.   When Linny breaks the most sacred taboo in the hills, her best friend and tether-twin, Sayra, is the one who pays the price.
Linny takes her forbidden lourka - a stringed musical instrument - and runs away to the Plains to find a cure for Sayra's fading away illness. 
Linny and her friend, Edmund, are caught up in a civil struggle between a faction that believes everything should be mapped, straight, smooth and mechanical - and a faction that honors magic and wrinkles of all sorts.
 I ended up skimming and, alas, skipping.  If I had more time I may have enjoyed the arguments and adventures and authoritarian quasi-villains.  The book is as wrinkled as its title.  But it is a solid beginning of a new magical trilogy(?) or series.  (Grades 5 through 7, though younger readers with skills and stamina will enjoy this book.)

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10. Book Trailer!

Teaching faith and values to pre-schoolers is not always easy.  So, books like this one are helpful for extolling the wonderfulness of the world - and the Maker.  And the trailer is pretty just the way it is.

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11. Reviews? - Hah!

The Kutztown University Children's Literature Conference looms larger and larger in my sight.  So, I am reading, reading, reading, reading like a mad woman - who reads a lot.   Once again, I am reviewing books for kids in grades 5 and up.  And I have read very few of the "hot" new YA titles.  I am not all that into the "hot" topics of paranormality, sexual awakening, and personal torment.  That's ok.  When I finally pick those books up, I am sucked in almost as much as teen readers are.

Is this not the loveliest KUCLC poster ever?  I think so.
What this means, is that I will not review books on this site - much - for the next three or four weeks.  but I will LIST what I have read.

Beetle Boy by M. G. Leonard
Trash Mountain by Jane Yolen
Nick and Tesla's Solar-Powered Showdown by Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith

And because I deserve to read adult books once in awhile, Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen.

Sign up for KU's Children's Literature Conference TODAY!!

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12. Book update

1.  Battle of the Kids Books begins tomorrow.  I did not get to read the two contenders in this first match up but I predict... nothing.  Check back later.

2.  Here are the books I have read in the last two - or so - weeks.
     Grayling's Song by Karen Cushman
    It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
    The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander
    The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder 
   Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
   Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts  by Esta Spalding
   
Also, Strangeways to Oldham by Andrea Fraser - but that is an adult murder mystery.  Still, I read it and it was a good old fashioned "cottage" mystery with adult tricycles, a stolid butler and a hilarious cast of characters.

All of these books - except for the murder mystery - are e-galleys. Sorry, you can't read them yet.  I enjoyed them all.  They are a mix of styles and genres - some fun, some suspenseful, some heartbreaking.  I will review several, if not all, in future posts.

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13. Battle Stations


 Battle of the Books


It is once again time for a bunch of bloggers over at School Library Journal to pit THEIR favorite children or teen books against one another.   The books might be chosen from floods of suggestions and maybe they are but, when all is said and done, three people make up the list of contenders.

 I have reasons for pointing this out.
Reason #1:  I have only read two books on this year's list.  I think that is my lowest count so far.
Reason #2: At least, two totally awesome books did not make this list and I am thunderstruck.
Reason #3:  I did not know this.  I thought that the books were chosen from the floods and floods of book suggestions.

I usually enjoy following this battle - even when I don't read every single title on the list.  And here is a link to the action. I linked you to the list of The Contenders but if you look to the right, you will see "the brackets".  It all starts on March 7th, with one book I haven't read going up against another book I haven't read.  Oh well.  Stop with the whining already.  Perhaps, by then, I will have read them BOTH.

As I age, I continue to wonder who decides what books should be published for children.  I wonder about a lot of things.  For instance:
1. Why do people put all their stuff on Facebook?
2.  How many reruns of Rockford Files can one person watch in a row?
3. Doesn't anyone stay in one place anymore? (apologies to C. King)

But just what criteria publishers use to choose the books that get published - this is a quandary.

Here are MY criteria for a good kid's book.
1.  Simple - ish.  As the kids get older the simplicity can fade.
2.  Makes the kid think.
3. Takes the kid somewhere they have never been - not necessarily geographically
4. Teaches the kid something
5. Funny at least part of the time
6. Makes the kid feel like part of a bigger world

Current? Well, sure, but that changes in a wink!
Diverse?  Yes.   This is not a shopping list, though.
STEAM, STEM, CORE, ???? Don't work so hard.
Difficult subjects??  Anything that makes a person suffer is a difficult subject.  Asking a three year old to hop on one foot before he is able to can make him cry!  See what I mean?

I am venting here.  I will stop now.  And go back to wondering what to do with a 4 year old princess for a week - besides reading.

READ MORE BOOKS!



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14. The Hollow Boy


The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. #3)I did not sleep well last night.  It might have been my bedtime reading.  The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud continues the ghost fighting adventures of Lockwood & Co.  Lucy Carlyle, our narrator, wants everything to remain stable in the Lockwood household.  She, Lockwood - the founder of the company, - and George of the thick glasses and love for research are busier than ever.  However, they have NOT been called in to help with the HUGE outbreak of paranormal activity in Chelsea that has resulted in deaths and large scale evacuations.  Of all the ghost fighting businesses, Lockwood & Co., alone, has been ignored.  You can imagine that doesn't sit well with Lockwood.


In the meantime, any other ghostly problems have landed on the Lockwood doorstep and Lockwood wants to hire an assistant.  George has no opinion.  Lucy wants things to stay the same.

So, what happens when the assistant is hired in Lucy's absence?  And then there is the case of the bloody footprints and its aftermath.  Lucy is tempted to enter the forbidden room.  And the Haunted Skull gives a running sarcastic commentary on everything Lucy does.

Expect specters.  Expect odd behavior on the part of the non-talented adults.  Expect hanging threads that need to be followed up.  Well, I can't tell you what else to expect because honestly, if I were a little more superstitious, I may NEVER have gotten to sleep.

Just one question for you; have you ever gone into an older department store and felt, hmmm, I don't know, a presence from the past?  Yeah, me, too.

The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud.  Read it, preferably in the daylight.

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15. All the Pretty Princesses

Princesses everywhere.

I am not the most girly type of woman.   But even I wanted to be a princess when I was little.  I did not want to be an actual princess, who has to learn to be diplomatic, attend boring meetings, discuss policy with councilors, and put up with the attentions of not necessarily handsome princes.  I wanted to be a fairy tale princess - beautiful, cosseted, rich and talented.

So, to celebrate Princesses everywhere on this Carnival Tuesday, here is a list of my favorite princess books:

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  A dragon destroys everything - including a princess' wardrobe AND kidnaps a handsome prince.  Dressed in a paper bag, our princess hunts down the evil lizard. (Picture Book)

The Magic Fishbone by Charles Dickens.   Alicia manages the castle and the little princes and princesses quite well with just her cleverness.  The magic fishbone in her apron pocket must be saved for just the right wish. Happy ending, everyone!!! (Short story suitable for ages 4 through 10, and for adults who like Dickens)

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.   Miri and the other girls in her mountain village must learn how to be princesses because one of them will marry the prince.  Also - bandits try to kidnap them and they have to protect themselves.  Bad guys; jealousy; mean teachers; resourcefulness! (Middle grade through teen)

Hmmm, there are many, many more princess books around then are dreamt of in your philosophies, dear Horatio.  But here is just one more.

I am going to add I am Princess X by Cherie Priest because the story is a bit incredible but the combination of graphics and text and the suspense, clues, and sleuthing add up to a roller coaster ride of a book. (Teen - action-adventure, violent crimes, risk taking)






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16. It's been awhile

Well, let's see....Since I last posted here,
a friend died;
a snowstorm obliterated the craters left by my last carrot dig;
I made a video for my granddaughter (posted below);
I read some books but not as many as I want to;
I crocheted a squirrel (working on a fox);
I took my Mom to a doctor's visit - no, make that three;
I have felt a lot of things.

I have felt the insubstantial nature of life and the inelasticity of time.

I have felt the despair that comes from resisting inevitable change.

I am hopeless that our race will ever become kinder, or even less selfish.

And, then, I see something that raises my spirits.

Being human is hard.  Sometimes, I don't see the point of our kind.  And, then, in a flash, I do.

Well, enough, here's something silly for the day. Little Blue Bunny and Nutty Romomlia

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17. Reading and awards

In the past few weeks I have read Circus Mirandus, The Book of Kings, Anna and the Swallow Man, The Beastly Bones, The Hired Girl.   I gave up, temporarily, on The Six of Crows and I promise to go back to that because my Boss says it's worth the effort.  I also read Confessions of an Imaginary Friend.

I am pretty sure that there  are other books that I have read recently that did not make this list.  You will note that few if any of these books are on the recently released Youth Media Awards.   (Mainly because several of these are 2016 releases so....)

As a matter of fact, I did a poor job of reading award-worthy books this year.  I have been reading what I want - so there.  

So here is a short run down of two of the books mentioned above.
The Book of Kings -by Cynthia Voigt.  I want to live in Max's home town.  I, too, want to be a solutioneer.  Max Starling must rescue his parents who have been tricked into playing the King and Queen of a small, oppressed South American nation.  So, he, his grandmother, his tenant, Ari who is also a Baron, his "assistant" Pia's father, two boys who may end up being good friends and Max's painting teacher all pile on to a ocean liner, leaving behind the idyllic city of Queensbridge.  Don't DO it! Max.  What a delightful adventure, full of twists and turns and headstrong people.

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz.  When Jane's unhappy father burns her journals - they are a waste of her time.  Jane runs off to Baltimore and gets a job as a hired girl in the home of a department store owner and entrepreneur.  Her job is complicated by the clash of cultures.  Jane's mother was Catholic, though Jane rarely got a chance to attend church.  And the family she works for are observant Jews.  Jane is NOT 18 as she claims but only 14, so she makes some choices and behaves in ways that threaten to get her fired.  Good book.  Read it.
 

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18. Christmas in the Mountains

When Christmas rolls around, I am sometimes asked to read a "children's" story at the Christmas Eve meeting.   Some years, I choose better than others. 



This year, I thought I would read "A Certain Small Shepherd" by Rebecca Caudill but my copy has gone missing.  As luck would have it, I own the book "Children of Christmas" by Cynthia Rylant.  This group of holiday stories is just about my favorite collection ever.  Unfortunately, some of the stories affect me emotionally so I can't read them out loud, especially in public.  The story, "Silver Packages" was just right for sharing.  In fact, that story has been turned into a stand alone picture book.


Like Caudill's story, "Silver Packages" takes place in Appalachia.  A rich man shows gratitude to the people who helped him in his time of need by tossing silver wrapped packages from the caboose of a train that wends its way through the mountains right before Christmas.  A boy yearns for one particular toy.  He never receives it.  The presents he does open each Christmas morning are things he needs to stay warm and healthy.  And one day he returns to the mountains to repay that debt.

It was a good choice for read/telling out loud.  If you get a chance, look for these books at your library.  Read "For Being Good"  from "Children of Christmas". 

That's the story I can't read out loud.




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19. Not-just-anybody

The Not-Just Anybody FamilyThe first time I read The Not-Just-Anybody Family, I knew I was reading genius. Betsy Byars uses exactly the right number of words to show her readers what is going on.   There was Junior on the barn roof; Maggie, his sister, was doing her toenails; Vern, his brother, was on the ground watching.  I have not picked up the book in twenty years but Maggie's lack of interest and Vern's almost ghoulish anticipation of a fall mixed with the hope that Junior really could fly are permanently imprinted in my brain.



Byars has won awards for several of her other books.  But for me, The Blossom Family will always be my favorite Betsy Cromer Byars titles.

So what is so great about Betsy Byars' books?  They are so accessible - which is a thing these days - accessibility.  They run the whole range from funny to heart-wrenching.  She writes for all ages but most impressively for that age group that can determine if a person becomes a life-long reader or not - middle grades.  Her characters are believable.  They get in trouble of all sorts.  They all learn something from their adventures - although not always what adults might want them to learn.

Herculeah Jones, Bingo Brown, Junior, Maggie and Vern Blossom, Cracker Jackson, Ant and his Brother, - these are just a few of the likable, quirky and totally normal kid characters that Byars created.

Pick up a Byars book next time you are in the library.  You won't be sorry.




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20. Gon. Backson

I was gone.  Now I am back.  And while I was gone I read OLD books; two by G. K. Chesterton and two by L. M. Montgomery - because I visited Prince Edward Island on my travels.

Chesterton's books were full of the politics of the Empire and, since they were pre-WWII, some of the reasoning seemed very Old Boy network.  Still, they were intriguing looks into a mindset that is probably better done away with.

Montgomery's books were full of light and cheerfulness - as is her wont.  The first, Pat of Sugar Bush, ended as if there would be more to the story.  And I hope there is, somewhere.  The other, A Tangled Web, was written for adults and read like a daytime soap opera.  Six or more couples, friends and lovers, struggle to find out what went wrong - or how to connect - or whatever.  The last line in the book is a glaringly racist remark and soured things for me.  But I recognize the time period and context and just wish people were more thoughtful.  I enjoyed the book except for that.

Obviously, I enjoyed L. M. Montgomery's books more than Chesterton's.  I don't even remember the names of Chesterton's books, oh wait, The Man Who Knew Too Much, was one title.  That book was upsetting because the hero of the short stories finds himself letting felons go unpunished for the good of the Empire - in every single instance.  Also, some anti-semitic rhetoric in one story made me cringe.

Oh well, I came home to Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt.  I will read it and let you know what I think.

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21. Bats of the Republic Trailer


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22. Boo!

Get a load of these wonderful book-themed costumes over at Seeker of Happiness:  SOOOO CUTE!!

Photo property of Karen Maurer Copyright 2012
Keep in mind that the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild is holding TWO Scary Stories for Halloween events.  Click here for details.

AND I am doing a Halloween Family Storytime at the Allentown Public Library on Wednesday at 6:30 pm (my regular Family Storytime time slot).  I am reading three of my absolute favorite scary-ish Halloween stories.  Room on the Broom,  The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything and  Ghosts in the House.

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23. Orbiting Jupiter

I read Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt the other night.  I could NOT put it down.  The pages turned themselves.  Then I got to the end.  And threw the book across the room.

I can't tell you much about the book, really.  The advance press tells you all you need to know about the story. 

 There is this.  Married to a caseworker who spent most of his working life in Children and Youth,  I hate books with social workers in them, because most social workers are portrayed as uncaring.  The social worker in THIS book is freaking awesome.  Really, she's wonderful.  Thank you for that, Gary D. Schmidt.

Foster parents also get a bad rap.  These foster parents are so wonderful.  Thanks again, Mr. Schmidt.

Indeed, there is so much about this book that I loved.  I still threw it across the room.  Read it please and tell me if you agree I had the right to do that.


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24. Liars! 3 books

CrenshawThe books I have read in the past few days all revolve around lying - lying to survive, lying to hide hard facts from oneself, lying to avoid confrontation - lots of untruth telling going on.

In The False Prince, by Jennifer A. Nielsen,  Sage's survival depends on how well he can lie.   In an attempt to save the kingdom of Carthya, (or so they are told), Sage, Tobias and Roden are being groomed to impersonate the lost prince, Jaron.  Their training is a fight to the death.  The boys not chosen as Prince will meet an awful fate.  Trickery, dishonesty, secret passages, dungeons are followed by a jaw-dropping master stroke.  This is the first in a trilogy.

In Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate,  Jackson has been homeless before and he knows that his parents are struggling, again.  The return of his imaginary friend, Crenshaw, a six foot tall cat, does nothing to calm his fears.  The lying in this book is the "everything is all right" kind, harmless on the surface but nasty and dangerous, nonetheless.

Dear Hank Williams by Kimberley Willis Holt, is a novel in letters.  Tate P. Ellerbee decides that the rising star, Hank Williams, will be her penpal for her class penpal project.  She is more than faithful in writing to Mr. Williams, and in return she receives three signed photographs.  And the reader learns just how Tate spins tales to make herself feel better about her absent parents and other difficulties.  All is revealed in the end, in this clever and emotionally satisfying book.  Set between 1948 and 1949, this is also a well-researched look at rural America in the aftermath of WWII.

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25. In 1900....

Jacqueline Kelly very kindly wrote another book about Calpurnis Tate. In The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate, Callie Vee, as her six brothers and parents call her, is disappointed to find that life in the year 1900 goes on pretty much like always.  She goes on rambles with her scientist grandfather.  She makes meticulous notes in her notebook.  She is by turns bedeviled and beguiled by her brothers.  And she disappoints her mother and baffles her father almost weekly.

Almost every other chapter tells of her struggles with Travers, her wild animal loving younger brother, and his latest "find".  The armadillo is a bust.  The raccoon is fated for failure, but the coy-dog??  Really???

Then there is the hurricane of 1900 that wiped Galveston, TX, off the map.  The barometer and Callie's chance sighting of a strange bird sends Callie's grandfather to the telegraph office to send wires to the coast.  Callie has to give up her bed to a cousin she barely knows - a greedy, penny-pinching cousin who has no appreciation of nature.  That and the disappearance of Callie's gold piece add up to a recipe for high drama.

In between, Callie runs errands for the new veterinarian, learns how to type, gets even with a conniving brother and deals as well as she can with her parents' expectations for her future.

This feels like a bridge book.  I am eager to see if Callie prevails.

MEANWHILE, in San Francisco, Lizzie Kennedy hates her school, Miss Barstow's.  She'd much prefer going out on doctor's calls with her father.  She loves science but, just like Callie Vee, her obsession is considered unseemly for a young woman. 

In Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko, there are rumors that plague has broken out in Chinatown.  Lizzie's uncle, the owner of one of the biggest newspapers in town, refuses to believe the rumors without proof.  But Chinatown is quarantined and trapped inside is Lizzie's cook and friend, Jing.  Jing leaves behind a secret - a real LIVE secret.  And that secret teaches Lizzie to look at her world in a whole new way.

There are a lot of secrets in this book; secrets that endanger a whole city; secrets that hide the way people really feel; secrets about how to fit in.  Lizzie has to find Jing, learn how to be friends with people her own age, survive her first ball, and prove her worth as a nurse. 

It all happened in 1900!

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