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Results 26 - 50 of 15,825
26. YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler, 329 pp, RL: YA

I am reviewing Amy Poehler's book, YES PLEASE, because I have been a fan of comedy since I was a very young child (see my sloppily personal review of Caitlin Moran's novel How to Build a Girl) but I am also reviewing it because I think that all girls and young women need successful, smart, women they can look up to as role models, mentors and/or trailblazers on paths that they

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27. New Cookbooks for October and November: Potluck Time!

October/November is a favorite time in our offices. These are the months when scads of cookbooks are released, a deluge of cookbooks, a tornado of cookbooks. To judge by my desk, it's a perfect (or, rather, imperfect) storm of cookbooks. I have over 50 newly released books piled up, with another pile of yet-to-be-released titles [...]

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28. Beyond the Headlines: Lena Dunham and Millennial Feminism

First, a confession: I hate-watched the first two seasons of Lena Dunham's Girls. Every situation and character on the show made me cringe. Most scenes involve unpleasant people having unpleasant sex, or scheming to have (unpleasant) sex, or dealing with the discomfort of trying to avoid or distance themselves from earlier, unpleasant sex. Sure there [...]

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29. The Hot Sex Tip Cosmo Won’t Tell You

Cosmopolitan Magazine recently released an article titled "28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions." Where was this vital information when I was a teenager? How much more fulfilling would my young life have been if I had known about "The Rocket," "The Kinky Jockey," or "Defying Gravity," a position in which one receives oral sex while performing [...]

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30. Puppies(!) for Sale? Read This First

Shake Puppies contains an almost unsettling amount of cuteness. There is a good chance after looking through its pages you will get puppy fever and be thrown into an unwavering quest for your next pet. Here is my sound advice if you are indeed afflicted by this condition: Rescue your next dog! Hear me say [...]

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31. Poetry Friday: Next Time by Mary Oliver

Next time what I'd do is look at
the earth before saying anything. I'd stop
just before going into a house
and be an emperor for a minute
and listen better to the wind
    or to the air being still.

When anyone talked to me, whether
blame or praise or just passing time,
I'd watch the face, how the mouth
has to work, and see any strain, any
sign of what lifted the voice.

And for all, I'd know more -- the earth
bracing itself and soaring, the air
finding every leaf and feather over
forest and water, and for every person
the body glowing inside the clothes
    like a light.

- Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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32. BEFORE AFTER by Ann-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui, 176 pp RL: ALL AGES

BEFORE AFTER by Matthias Aregui and Anne-Margot Ramstein is truly a unique book that is hard to classify. Smaller than a picture book in trim size, longer than a picture book in page count, an not exactly a graphic novel, BEFORE AFTER is best described as a meditation. The title says it all, but the choices the authors make in images of before and after they choose to present are anything but

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33. Dodsworth in Tokyo by Tim Egan, 48 pp, RL 1.5

There are a handful of early readers that have a special place in my heart - Frog & Toad , Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant (a multiple Newbery winner) and Mark Teague, Dav Pilkey's Dragon series, Elephant & Piggie,  of course, and James Marshall's fabulous George and Martha books. And, as of 2011, Tim Egan's Dodsworth books (my review here) have edged their way into this small space. A good

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34. Happy Book Birthday to EMPIRE OF SHADOWS!

Do you like lush, richly imagined fantasy worlds? Do you like heroic adventures and palace intrigue? Do you like strong ladies with agency? Have you read Miriam Forster yet??! Today is the release day for EMPIRE OF SHADOWS, the second tale of the Bhinian Empire.

Note: This is NOT a sequel to CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS - it's a companion novel (or prequel) that can absolutely be read first or alone. However you will get to know some interesting tidbits about either novel by reading the other. (And CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS is now in paperback, with awesome extras!)  . . . but about EMPIRE:

Perfect for fans of romantic fantasies like The Girl of Fire and Thorns and Graceling, Empire of Shadows takes readers on a spellbinding journey into a world with a divided society, deadly courtiers, heroic traitors, and deeply laid conspiracies.

Cast out by her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her—an order where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire's capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could've imagined. More shocking still, Mara finds the boy she thought she'd lost forever outside the gates of her new home.

Mara knew the dizzying capital city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake?
Fantasy-lovers, Miriam Forster is a talent to watch, and the Bhinian Empire books are glorious reads to get lost in. Request the book from your local library, bookstore, or online at Indiebound, Powells, Book Depository, Barnes+Noble or Amazon


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35. Salty Caramels and Black Licorice Duo

An inspired pairing of two Oregon originals — Jacobsen Salt and artisan candy maker Quin — this distinctive duo of candies boasts a deliciously salty twist. A sweet surprise for candy lovers with a tooth for salty treats. Books mentioned in this post Salty Caramel and Black Licorice Duo Jacobsen Salt Gifts Miscellaneous $38.00

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36. #SupportWNDB, LOWRIDERS IN SPACE, and a giveaway!

So you've all heard of #WeNeedDiverseBooks, yes? This is a grassroots campaign that began as a simple twitter hashtag meant to highlight the lack of diversity in Children's literature, and has morphed into a super-worthy nonprofit organization that does things like fund writers grants for underheard voices, make sure there are diverse panels at trade shows and conferences, and generally raise awareness of the problem and help find solutions... and they are having an IndieGoGo fundraiser this month.

This is a project I'm SUPER INTO and I want to encourage you to DONATE TO #SupportWNDB ! Here's the link again in case you already forgot.

On a somewhat more personal note, this week I'm also celebrating the publication of a diverse book I'm so proud of, LOWRIDERS IN SPACE! LOWRIDERS is the first in a graphic novel series for middle graders; its cunning mix of humor, science and pure fantasy will appeal to both boys and girls 8-12.

Publishers Weekly says in their starred review:

Camper’s rocket-powered graphic novel stars a deliciously improbable trio: Lupe Impala, a beautiful mechanic with a mane of black hair and a limitless supply of automobile knowledge; Flapjack Octopus, whose eight arms can detail a car to a high gleam; and Elirio Malaria, a shady-looking mosquito who uses his needlelike proboscis to pinstripe cars with fantastic accuracy. Raúl the Third’s dazzling art, done with red, black, and blue ballpoint pen, fuses the energy of Mexican folk images, the naked passion of tattoo art, and the antics of Saturday morning cartoons. Lupe and her sidekicks want to start a garage, but they don’t have enough money. They enter a car competition (first prize is “a carload of cash”), find a beater, and plot their strategy: “¡Y vamos a tener que echarle ganas, to clean it!” says Flapjack (Spanish translations are provided throughout). A wild journey through space gives their car one-of-a-kind galactic magic—readers will rejoice in their triumph. As a celebration of Latino lowrider culture, too, it’s estellar.
So here's the deal. I have a bunch of copies of this book. . . and I'm going to do a giveaway. If you have a group of kids who would benefit from having copies of LOWRIDERS, send me an email. Tell me what school or group you are with, how old the kids are, how many kids there are, and anything else you think I need to know. I would like these books to go to a group of kids that would not normally be able to purchase new books! Subject line: LOWRIDERS GIVEAWAY - to JennL at andreabrownlit dot com.

And if you CAN purchase new books - well, please do buy this one. I would love to see a kick-ass culturally authentic graphic novel like this one be wildly successful - because I'd LOVE to sell lots more books like it!

Request it from your local library, purchase at your local independent bookstore, or visit Indiebound Amazon Barnes+Noble to purchase online.



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37. The Complete Adventures of Johnny Mutton stories & pictures by James Proimos, 150 pp, RL 2

Publishing all three volumes of James Proimos's graphic novels in one volume titled The Complete Adventures of Johnny Mutton (with bonus material) is one of the best things I've seen all year. Proimos has a smart, absurdist sense of humor that fans of Captain Underpants series will gobble up with glee. And Proimos and his ovine hero first hit the shelves way back in 2001! Johnny's

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38. The Swap by Megan Shull

If you like the concept of comedic body switches a la Freaky Friday, then it's time for you to read Megan Shull's new novel The Swap.

Note that I said comedic "body switches" as opposed to horror-movie-style body swaps - those are invasive and terrifying, whereas The Swap is a smart and sensitive look at what it would be like for two middle school students of opposite genders to switch places.

When an encounter at school causes them to unwillingly swap bodies, thirteen-year-old Jack and twelve-year-old Ellie have to figure out a way to deal with their very different bodies, families, friends, and afterschool obligations until they can swap back. Before this unexpected event, the kids weren't friends. They go to the same school, so they vaguely knew each other - with Ellie being more aware of Jack than vice-versa - but they are a grade apart and don't have any classes or activities in common. By the time the book is over, though, there's no way they could call themselves strangers anymore.

This story is about more than temporarily being in someone else's body - it's about sharing someone else's life. The decisions the protagonists make and the actions they take while walking in each other's shoes (including Ellie's soccer cleats and Jack's hockey skates) affect them both. Seeing the world through new eyes changes how they see others and how they see themselves.

And back to the body sharing: where some sitcoms, books, or movies might play awkward moments in the locker room and in the bathroom as silly and/or gross jokes, these kids are truly uncomfortable at those times, and ultimately very respectful.

You could say that the two parental figures in the book are both devoted to their children, but they are definitely at opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Ellie's mother, a divorced single parent and yoga instructor, is upbeat and sunny. Jack's stern father, a widower, is very strict with his four sons. Very strict. Think Captain Von Trapp. He oversees their daily fitness routine and year-round hockey training and makes them call him "sir." Ellie's mom wishes her daughter would be more open with her, while Jack's militaristic dad doesn't do heart-to-heart chats.

Jack has a whole bunch of buddies and gets along very well with his brothers. Meanwhile, only child Ellie feels like she doesn't have a friend in the world. Sassy, her best friend since kindergarten, has found a new best friend and now finds it fun to say mean things to Ellie (and Jack-as-Ellie) at school, on the soccer field, and at a memorable sleepover. Anyone who has had a friend turn on them, especially in middle school, will relate to that heartache. Friendship break-ups can hurt just as much as romantic ones. Not all friends make up; not all friends should. Kids and adults alike should keep this in mind: If someone is being mean to you and repeatedly putting you down, that person is not a true friend.

Both Ellie and Jack are healthy and athletic, which is really cool. It also comes in handy when they have attend each other's practices and tryouts. I also appreciated that the sports storylines didn't culminate in either character winning the big game or being chosen MVP; instead, it was about personal successes, about what the work taught them about themselves and how it pushed them outside of their comfort zones. There was also a neat sporty bit towards the end of the book that I wasn't expecting, and I liked a lot.

I've read a lot of books with dual narratives, and The Swap is a solid example of a story that both needs and benefits from two narrators who offer honest first-person thoughts. Without making them polar opposites, Shull has her characters speak and react differently, with some overlap - it's fun when they start realizing that they've picked up each other's lingo. The narrating duties flip back and forth in alternating chapters, and the story is easy to follow. The Swap considers the different ways we treat girls and boys, the different things we expect of our sons and daughters, and it's a great take on upper middle school life, a time that a lot of TV shows glaze over, jumping from little-kid-dom right into the teen age rather than dealing with the simultaneous horrors and happiness of those in-between wonder years.

For those of who you have yet to read the original novel Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers, do yourself a favor and pick up that book at the same time you pick up The Swap. Also grab Megan Shull's previous releases, including Amazing Grace.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Author Spotlight: Megan Shull
Booklist: Multiple Narrators
Booklist: Hey There, Sports Fan!
Booklist: Suggested Sets
Booklist: Middle School Must-Haves

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39. Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond

Jules Maroni has always worked in the circus. Jules, like her father, is a high-wire walker; her mother and her cousin Sam do dazzling work with the horses, and her grandmother used to fly on the trapeze. When her family joins the Cirque American, an old rivalry flares up between the Maronis and the Flying Garcias. Though she rarely falls off of the wire, Jules find herself falling for Remy, a Garcia boy - and she finds herself the target of threats and bad omens.

While she and Remy try to figure out who is behind these unwelcome acts, they also have to hide their relationship from their families. (A little bit of Romeo and Juliet, a little bit of Hatfields and McCoys, but with less bloodshed, thankfully. No suicide, just somersaults and pirouettes!) Meanwhile, Jules' fame rises as the circus travels across the country.

Bonus points for the main character's affection for classic films. It is lovely to see a teen character who has inherited an appreciation for the likes of Cary Grant and Barbara Stanwyck, clearly the influence of her grandmother, who is often found watching TCM (Turner Classic Movies). It's worth mentioning that all three of the Maroni adults - her mother, her father, and her grandfather - are all supportive figures who have raised Jules well and inspired different parts of her personality, her interests, and her talents.

Give this book to folks who like their mysteries with a touch of magic, and ask yourself: Would you dare to walk the high wire?

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40. Best Books of October 2014

October 2014: 9 books and scripts read

Recommended for Teens
Hit by Lorie Ann Grover
Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond

Recommended for Kids
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Wishing all of my readers a safe and happy Halloween!

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41. Poetry Friday: Alexander Throckmorton

In youth my wings were strong and tireless,
But I did not know the mountains.
In age I knew the mountains
But my weary wings could not follow my vision-
Genius is wisdom and youth.

- Alexander Throckmorton in Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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42. Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

Mac Barnett Jon Klassen are the brilliant team that brought us Extra Yarn, winner of the Caldecott Honor Medal. With Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, Barnett and Klassen have created yet another book that readers (and little listeners) will instantly bond with. Seemingly simple, this book will satisfy adults and kids and is sure to get repeated readings wherever it lands, in part because of the wry

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43. Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton

I almost didn't review Rex Wrecks It! by Ben Clanton. I reviewed Tyrannosaurus Wrecks by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illustrated by Zachary Ohara in April of this year and the world play of "wrecks" and "rex" feels a little done. But . . . well . . . Clanton draws a mean monster, an adorable uni-rabbit and an endearing little robot. And then there are the building blocks. Clanton does amazing

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44. Egg and Spoon

In this modern literary folktale set in Tsarist Russia, we meet young Elena, who lives an impoverished life in the countryside, and Ekaterina, a girl whose life is filled with a wealth of riches on a luxury train. Maguire, the author of Wicked, weaves an intricate and playful tale rich in imagery, truly making this [...]

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45. Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future

When Glory unexpectedly gains the power to see the future and other people's pasts, she begins dealing with the complications in her life. With powerful writing, this intense novel is full of love and humor as Glory overcomes her present difficulties. Books mentioned in this post Glory O'Brien's History of the Future A. S. King [...]

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46. The Accidental Highwayman

In this intricately illustrated fantasy set in 18th-century England, the young servant Kit becomes a highwayman by accident and is hurled into a grand tale with goblins, a fairy princess, a witch, and a magical map. This is a hilarious, rollicking adventure. Books mentioned in this post The Accidental Highwayman: Being the... Ben Tripp Used [...]

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47. The Doubt Factory

Bacigalupi's counterculture take on the teen thriller turns what could be a by-the-book page-turner into a how-to for critical thinking and media literacy. A good stepping stone for teens who aren't quite ready for Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. Books mentioned in this post The Doubt Factory Paolo Bacigalupi New Hardcover $18.00

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48. Atlantia

Dive into Atlantia and discover an undersea future of sirens and science, where one family's secrets will either save the world or destroy it completely. Creative world-building and an immersive mythology make this a refreshing addition to a YA shelf already filled with dystopias. Books mentioned in this post Atlantia Ally Condie New Hardcover $18.99

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49. Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories

Here's Horton — but not hearing a Who. And a Grinch who's not green (but still decidedly grinchy). And Marco from Mulberry Street. All back in a new book of lost stories from Dr. Seuss! Horton and the Kwuggerbug is like a whimsical, wacky, absolutely beezlenutty visit from a favorite old friend. Books mentioned in [...]

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50. Skippyjon Jones: Snow What

It's time to make some hot catnip cocoa and join Skippito Friskito in his newest adventure. Skippyjon Jones braves the snow, kisses, and tights to make his own "fuzzy tale." The songs are my favorite part, and there are plenty here to make this the perfect winter read-aloud. Books mentioned in this post Skippyjon Jones: [...]

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