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1. Everything, Everything

Maddie is a girl who has spent her entire 17 years of life indoors because she is allergic to most everything outside. She's smart, complex, and funny but sheltered from the world by her conditions. Her social needs are met by her online friends, her mother, and her nurse. One day, a boy moves next [...]

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2. InD'tale Magazine (link)

The September issue of InD'tale Magazine is full of interesting interviews with writers and others, along with episode 2 of an intriguing paranormal mystery, an article on pseudonyms used in narrating audiobooks, and lots of reviews in a variety of genres.  And I always enjoy flipping the pages too.  Check it out: InD'tale Magazine

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3. The Umbrella Case Museum

Start collecting objects;
Set 'em up so folks can see 'em
And you'll find, before you know it,
You've established a museum.

I stopped in to such a place -
Umbrella covers on display -
Off of Portland, Maine (Peaks Island),
Which I visited today.

The curator and its founder
(An accordion player, too!)
Found a little niche and perfect place
To do what she can do.

She's accumulated cases
From umbrellas 'round the world,
Where these various umbrellas lived
Until they were unfurled.

So she showed me her collection
And before the tour was through, 
Her accordion appeared; we sang.
Well, this was something new!

When you travel, you encounter
Folks and places you might find
May be more than merely different -
They might really blow your mind!


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4. A Campus Refurbished...




Many Springs ago, I attended a Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators Rocky Mountain Chapter workshop for Illustrators. It was an educational day,  but what really stuck with me was where it was held.. at the Rocky Mountain College of Art, in Lakewood, Colorado.  I snapped a bunch of photos and have never put them up, but now here they are...


Celebrating a half a century, RMCAD  moved to this gorgeous campus in 2002.



Sculptures and outside installation  adorn the center, green  "rectangle" as they should at an art school.



and the students, make their own statement, as they should at Art School...


But the studios, housed in mostly red brick buildings, hint at a time gone by...



50 years farther back, at the turn of the century, the campus did have another purpose, it was a Tuberculosis Asylum, built by generous Jewish Ladies Auxiliaries back East, as the plaque below the water tower attest too...






The Tri Boro Dining Hall was erected by the New York Ladies Auxiliary, Long Island Division, Florence Hoberman Auxiliary of Brooklyn.



The New York Ladies Auxiliary Pavilion...





J.C.R.S stands for the Jewish Consumptive Relief Society and the organization cared for many affirmed who were sent to Colorado, to benefit from the dry air. 

Our Illustrator Workshop took place in the Mary Harris Auditorium, built much later in 1941, when the campus had changed focus as a medical research facility....

 Screaming "Art Deco" in its Architectural Style, it was sometimes hard to focus on the speakers in the glowing auditorium ...





Or at our  hands on workshop,  in one of the classrooms where no surface was safe from adornment....




Oh, how hard it was not add my own creativity, my ballpoint pen just laying there, but alas, not my art school and not my time.... Read the rest of this post

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5. Meet the New Griffin Teen!

 

Contributed by the Griffin Teen Team!

 

The new school year means a whole new wardrobe.  Not wanting to be left out of the fun, Griffin Teen got a brand new look!

Newly updated, we now have a beautiful website featuring some of our favorite and up-and-coming titles and a very convenient way to sign up for the Griffin Teen Newsletter!

 

   

 

Check out the Griffin Teen Griffin Ten Sweepstakes for a chance to win books from Rainbow Rowell, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, R.L. Stine, Amanda Hocking and more!

 

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As always, you can still find us on TwitterTumblr, and Facebook with the Griffin Teen handle.

Thanks for your continuous support and we hope you like the new Griffin Teen as much as we do!

Cheers,

The Griffin Teen Team

 

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Read More

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6. Talk Under Water by Kathryn Lomer

Will and Summer meet online and strike up a friendship based on coincidence. Summer lives in Will's old hometown, Kettering, a small Tasmanian coastal community. Summer isn't telling the whole truth about herself, but figures it doesn't matter if they never see each other in person, right? 

When Will returns to Kettering, the two finally meet and Summer can no longer hide her secret – she is deaf. Can Summer and Will find a way to be friends in person even though they speak a completely different language?

Talk Under Water is told through emails, letters, Facebook posts and the first-person narratives of both Will and Summer. It's an easy read, with straightforward writing. Summer's deafness is very well depicted, and the amount of knowledge by the author of sign language and Deaf culture is clear (Minor grammatical errors in Summer's writing, since English is her second language, was a great touch). It's the sort of novel I would have loved to have studied in the early years of high school - it's engaging, readable and there are so many interesting themes. As well as Summer's deafness, she's still grieving for her dad, and Will's dealing with family breakdown, too. It's a very accessible story, and includes a lot of information about deafness and sign language without ever being preachy or over-the-top; it's very much part of the narrative, and the story doesn't suffer for its inclusion.

The dual narrative allows the reader to empathise and connect with both central characters, and the secondary characters are well-developed and relateable, too - I really felt for Will's dad and Summer's mum, who have both lost their partners. Will's old best friend Cully is ignorant about deafness, and continues to be even once he meets Summer, and I think the difficulties of Will's friendship with Cully is something a lot of teenaged readers will be able to relate to - at least those that have experienced the shift in friendships as you get older as people change and grow apart  I was a bit concerned about how much information Will and Summer shared about their respective lives, where they lived, et cetera when they initially communicated online - even though I as the reader knew they were both teenagers, from their perspective the other could easily have been a middle-aged weirdo. My worries about stranger danger were probably my greatest concern with the novel (I don't want anything bad happening to the characters, gosh!).

Talk Under Water is an enjoyable read, where the stakes aren't ever really that high - the major problems stem from miscommunication between the two central characters, which resolves quickly - which lends it realism, though not a lot of conflict. I'd recommend it for younger teenage readers (perhaps even readers in the later primary school years); while there's a very sweet romance story at the centre of this novel, it's very much secondary to the friendship that develops between the characters, both of whom read as being quite young. It's a nice, thoughtful, heart-warming novel, and it wonderfully reflects the real-world diversity of young people, which is something we always need more of in YA fiction.

Talk Under Water on the publisher's website.

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7. Waiting

Caldecott-award-winning-author Kevin Henkes brings us this elegant and lovingly charming book centering around toys Owl, Pig, Bear, Puppy, and Rabbit. Their lives are spent together waiting on the window sill content with observing and sharing their wonderful world. A great picture book that teaches patience, stillness, and community. Books mentioned in this post Waiting Kevin [...]

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8. Educators say this about First Book…

A new school year is upon us. And as always, it’s critical that teachers and program leaders have the right tools, so that they can succeed. According to a recent First Book survey, the books they get from First Book make a big difference – to them, and to the kids they serve.

best educators they can be

In our survey of our educator community, 79 percent of respondents agreed that access to books from First Book helps them be the best educators they can be.

If you work with kids in need, you can receive books and resources to use in your classroom or program. Make it a great school year and sign up with First Book today!

The post Educators say this about First Book… appeared first on First Book Blog.

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9. Weighing in on the critics, in the New York Times

Isn't Charles McGrath a right voice in our time?

(Wait. Did that sound critical?)

This week the New York Times Book Review asked Charles McGrath and Adam Kirsch the question: Is Everyone Qualified to Be a Critic? It's a question I often ask myself. A question I've been asking myself for the past 20 years, in fact—throughout my reviews of many hundreds of books for print and online publications, my jottings on behalf of the competitions I've judged, and my meanderings on this blog.

What makes me qualified? Am I qualified? And do I do each book—whether or not I like it—justice?

I do know this: If my mind is dull, if I am distracted, if I feel rushed, if I've grown just a tad weary of this trend or that affect, I won't review a book, not even on this blog, where I own the real estate. Writers (typically) work too hard to be summarily summarized, falsely cheered, unhelpfully glossed. Reviews should only be treated as art (as compared, say, to screed or self-glorification). It's important, as McGrath notes, that we reviewers keep reviewing ourselves.

His words:
It’s surprising how much contemporary critical writing is a chore to get through, not just on blogs and in Amazon reviews but even in the printed paragraphs appearing below some prominent bylines, where you find too often the same clichés, the same tired vocabulary, the same humorless, joyless tone. How is it, you wonder, that people so alert to the flaws of others can be so tone deaf when it comes to their own prose? The answer may be the pressure of too many deadlines, or the unwritten law that requires bloggers and tweeters to comment practically around the clock. Or it may be that the innately critical streak of ours too frequently has a blind spot: ourselves.


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10. #727 – The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham

cover
The Perfect Percival Priggs
Written and Illustrated by Julie-Anne Graham
Running Press Kids       5/26/2015
978-0-7624 -5506-5
32 pages      Age 4—8

“Percival Priggs wants to be the perfect child in order to please his seemingly perfect parents. But even when Percy gets his family into a mess of a situation, his parents’ love for him remains absolute perfection.” [front jacket]

Review

“Percival Priggs was perfect.
His parents were perfect.
His grandparents were perfect.
Even his pets were perfect.”

Wow! The Priggs are a tremendously perfect family. This puts a lot of pressure on young Percy to be perfect in everything he does. Both parents are professors with shelves of awards between them. Percy has his own shelf that is nearly as filled with shiny trophies and perfect straight-A report cards. But Percy is finding it is tiring to be so perfect all of the time. If he told his parents this, would they love him any less? Percy is afraid they might, and so he keeps his feelings to himself.

2One weekend, Percy has so many competitions to complete he has no idea how he will ever finish on time. He isn’t thrilled about many of the competitions he is entered in, but he must to find a way to finish perfectly before the weekend is over. Percy comes up with a plan to finish faster, only making one small miscalculation . . . that sends everything into a disastrous cavalcade of humorous tumbles. He just knows his parents will be furious. What will happen to Percival Priggs now that he is no longer a Perfect Percival?

ill1_planI love this story. How many of us think we must be perfect and perform all our duties perfectly, never giving ourselves a break? Count me in. Yet, what does that teach our children? I love that Percival’s parents finally open up to their son, showing him that they were never always perfect (and maybe still not). This takes a load off young Percy’s shoulders. The illustrations (pen and ink on drafting film, with textures and backgrounds in Photoshop), are goofy with an old-fashioned sense of style and are extremely appealing. Oddly, there are words embedded in the character’s head, face, and eyeglasses (which all three wear). I’m not sure, but are these people so intent on perfection that they actually were their thoughts? It is an interesting idea and illustration technique.

I love the message from these two imperfect parents: They love Percy for who he is, not what he wins, and they keep on trying for perfection because they love what they do, not because they want to be perfect. They let Percy off the hook, telling him to find out what it is he loves to do, and then do that, no matter the imperfections or failures he will encounter along the way. Percy does just that in a humorous attempt to find out what he loves to do.

percival_spread2Roller-skating . . . nope, he falls too much. A rock star . . . well, no, not a rock star. In the end, Percy’s trophy shelf is as full as ever, but looks a whole lot different. It starts representing the real Percy. And his best trophy, the one he adores the most? Nah, not telling. Read The Perfect Percival Priggs to find out.

THE PERFECT PERCIVAL PRIGGS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Julie-Anne Graham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Running Press Kids, Philadelphia, PA.

Purchase The Perfect Percival Priggs at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksiTunes BooksRunning Press Kids.

Learn more about The Perfect Percival Priggs HERE.

percival-priggs-activity-pack.

Find The Perfect Percival Priggs Activity Pack HERE.

.

Meet the author/illustrator, Julie-Anne Graham, at her website: http://www.julieannegraham.com/
.           .  Twitter: @Ja_Illustrator
Find more picture books at the Running Press Kids’ website: http://www.runningpress.com/rpkids
.             . Running Press Kids is an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers, and a member of the Perseus Group.

.

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

.

Full Disclosure: The Perfect Percival Priggs by Julie-Anne Graham, and received from Running Press Kids, (an imprint of Running Press Book Publishers), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: family, Julie-Anne Graham, parent-child relationships, perfection, Perseus Group, pressure, Running Press Book Publications, Running Press Kids, The Perfect Percival Priggs, winning

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11. BBC Two to Adapt ‘The City and The City’ for TV

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12. What I Read in August


Another month closer to fall and I couldn't be happier!  I'm so over the heat and humidity - bring on the pumpkin spice scented everything and fall colors and cooler temps.  Ok, right, so in Georgia that stuff is still actually probably a month away, but we have had some actually pleasant mornings the past few days.  And I've been able to get in my car in the mid-afternoon without gasping for breath, so that's a plus.

Speaking of cars...my big event in August was the purchase of a new car!  It's pretty much the nicest and newest car I've ever owned and I still can't believe it's mine.  It's an SUV that's got space for both puppies in the back AND, my personal favorite, bluetooth everything.  I've spent the past few years driving around with my phone in my shirt in order to hear podcasts or audiobooks, so I feel like I'm living in the future now.

In terms of books, here's what I read in August:

We Should All Be FeministsChimamanda Ngozi Adiche
Assassin's QuestRobin Hobb
How to Write a NovelMelanie Sumner
Natural SelectionDave Freedman
The ThreeSarah Lotz
Men Explain Things to MeRebecca Solnit
Day FourSarah Lotz
Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life SentencesHoward Zehr
The New NeighborLeah Stewart
Modern RomanceAziz Ansari
ForensicsVal McDermid
Batman: Arkham KnightPeter J. Tomasi
The Ice TwinsS.K. Tremayne
The Library at Mount CharScott Hawkins
Eeny MeenyM.J. Arlidge

August books read: 15
Total books read this year: 141

August pages read: 4834
Total pages read this year; 41,536

What did you read this month?


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13. Maniac Mansion:The Comic!!!

The incredibly talented Kate Glasheen, artist on Hybrid Bastards and writer-artist of Bandages: A Diary Of Sorts, and still VASTLY under-rated in my opinion, is making a superbly demented web-comics tribute to the classic game, ‪#‎ManiacMansion‬.

Here is the first page, for more visit:  http://maniacmansioncomic.blogspot.co.uk/ and if you can donate/support please do! 

Maniac Mansion: The Comic Page 1

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14. McToad Mows Tiny Island

McToad likes Thursdays. Thursdays are the days he gets to mow Tiny Island! Travel with McToad and his trusty lawnmower on trucks, trains, forklifts, airplanes, helicopters, boats, and cranes to get to Tiny Island! From Tom Angleberger, author of the bestselling Origami Yoda series, and wonderfully illustrated by John Hendrix, McToad Mows Tiny Island is [...]

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15. Book Sales Down 5.8% Jan-May: AAP

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16. The Girl in the Spider’s Web

She's back! Stieg Larsson's thrilling characters return in author David Lagercrantz's accomplished hands. Mikael Blomkvist pairs up once again with Lisbeth Salander, the hacker wunderkind, in this stand-alone sequel to the page-turning series. Books mentioned in this post The Girl in the Spider's Web: A... David Lagercrantz Sale Hardcover $19.57

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17. HarperCollins Reveals Schedule for Pop Up in N.Y.

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18. Purity

Purity focuses on its namesake, a drifting 20-something , and Andreas Wolf, a Julian Assange stand-in whose dubious morality drives her to unexpected destinations. The fast-paced story spans decades and continents without losing sight of its characters' motivations and quotidian concerns; it is Franzen's most approachable novel to date. Books mentioned in this post Purity [...]

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19. If You Like Percy Jackson, Read This

Maybe you’re in the same boat as us. We’ve finished all of the Percy Jackson books… and now what do we read? We want more Rick Riordan!

Or, another boat perhaps we are sharing is aging readers. Our Wonder Son is now in high school. Percy Jackson was such an epic event in his younger years that he is continually searching for books that “grab” him just like Percy Jackson did. So what to do after Percy?

First might I suggest The Lost Hero Series which is Percy Jackson-related AND is also written by Rick Riordan.

Percy Jackson Lost Heros

Still needing a little bit more Percy Jackson ? Here are two great big favorite books from our favorite demi-god Percy Jackson.

Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes

Opercy Jacks's Greek Heroes

Another favorite Rick Riordan series is his Red Pyramid Trilogy. We just loved it!

Rick Riordan

Now as we wait for the latest new series from Rick Riordan, on Norse Myths this time. Magnus Chase will be out in October.

Magnus Chase

Until then, here are a few Books Like Percy Jackson for grades 6 and above, covering a wide range of ages and interests. They are ALL  series! Happy Reading!

books like Percy Jackson

The Lost Years of Merlin Series by T. A. Barron

Books like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jackson

A young boy with no memory or identity emerges from the sea…and discovers his destiny as the most legendary wizard ever to live. (Grades 6-8)

The Goddess War Series by Kendare Blake

books like Percy JacksonBooks like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jackson

Goddess Wars Series. Athena and Hermes’ search for the cause of their illnesses leads them to Cassandra who may be key to a war started by Hera and other Olympians who have become corrupt anti-gods determined to destroy their rivals.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

books like Percy Jackson

A twelve-year-old criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl, brings the fairy folk to their knees when he kidnaps one of their own. (Grades 6-8)

(Grades 7-9+)

Sweet Venom  by Tera Lynn Childs

books like Percy jackson

Three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates. (Grades 9+)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

books like Percy Jackson

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. (Grade 7 +)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

books like Percy Jackson

Outside the safety of the Glade lies an enormous maze, populated by nightmarish perversions of technology. (Grades 6-10)

The Mortality Doctrine Series by James Dashner

books like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jackson

Mortality Doctrine series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares. (Grades 7+)

City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau

books like Percy Jackson

Books of Ember Series. Lina & Doon must fulfill the prophecy and help everyone in town survive. So what if the townspeople are all trying to kill them? (Grades (8-9+)

Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer

books like Percy Jackson

If Jack’s sister had just stayed quiet, they wouldn’t have been captured by Vikings. Little sisters can be so annoying! (Grades 6-9+)

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

books like Percy Jackson

Flinn has lived his entire life inside the gigantic prison known as ‘Incarceron.’ Escape seems impossible…until he meets Claudia, who is trapped in the 17th century by a computer.
(Grades 7-9+)

The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

books like Percy jackson

Ranger’s Apprentice Series. 15-year-old Will joins the magic wielding rangers to battle against an evil warlord. (Grades 6-8)

The Paladin Prophecy series by Mark Frost

books like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jackson

A boy who has spent his entire life trying to avoid attention finds himself in the middle of a struggle between titanic forces when he is recruited by an exclusive prep school and followed by sinister agents. (Grades 7+)

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

books like Percy Jackson

Welcome to the Mirrorworld, where the darkest parts of your favorite fairytales are a chilling reality! (Grades 7-10)

Tunnels By Roderick Gordon

books by Percy Jackson

The Colony” has existed unchanged for a century, but it’s no benign time capsule of a bygone era— it is ruled by a cult like overclass, the Styx. And before long—before he can find his father—Will is their prisoner…. (Grades 6-9)

Runemark by Joanne Harris

books like Percy Jackson

In Maddy Smith’s world, order rules. Chaos, old gods, faeries, magic–all of these were supposedly vanquished centuries ago. But Maddy knows that a small bit of magic has survived. (Grades 7+)

Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz

books like Percy Jackson

The Gatekeepers Series. When Matt gets into trouble one time too many, he is sent to live in a far-away village. Is he the only one who can see the evil below the surface? (Grades 8+)

Talon by Julie Kagawa

books like Percy Jackson

Dragons exist and Ember is one of them. Trained to infiltrate the humans, she just wants to have fun in her final summer of freedom before joining the Talon, but destiny has another thing in store for her. (Grades 9+)

Scepter of the Ancients by Derek Landy

books like Percy Jackson

Skulduggery Pleasant Series. When twelve-year-old Stephanie inherits her weird uncle’s estate, she must join forces with Skulduggery Pleasant, a skeleton mage, to save the world from the Faceless Ones. (Grades 6-8)

The Colossus Rises by Peter Lerangis

books like Percy Jackson

Seven Wonders Series. Seven pieces of power from Atlantis that disappeared long ago. Cass, Jack, Marco and Aly depend on them to save their lives. (Grades 6-9)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

books like Percy Jackson

Adelina survived the blood fever, an illness that killed many, but left others with strange supernatural powers. Cast out by her family, she joins a secret society called the Young Elites and discovers her own dangerous abilities. (Grades 8+)

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

books like Percy jackson

When the apothecary is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the sacred
Pharmacopoeia in order to find him and save the world. (Grades 6-8)

A World without Heroes by Brandon Mull

books like Percy jackson

Beyonders Series. Jason and Rachel are pulled into the mysterious, troubled realm of Lyrian. All they want to do is get back to their own world, but they may have to stop evil wizard emperor Surroth first. (Grades 6-8)

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer Nielsen

books by Percy Jackson

When slave-boy Nic is forced to enter a cavern containing lost treasures, he discovers an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for. (Grades 6-9)

Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen

books like Percy Jackson

Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica Series. Three guys become owners of the Imaginarium Geographica and open mystical worlds. (Grades 8+)

Divergent by Veronica Roth

books like Percy Jackson

One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous. (Grade 9+)

Magyk by Angie Sage

books like Percy Jackson

Lost as a child, Septimus Heap must reunite with his true family & learn the magyk arts.
(Grades 6-8)

The Alchemist by Michael Scott

books like Percy Jackson

The Immortal Secrets of Nicholas Flamel Series. Two teens are caught up in a battle between ancient alchemists looking for the secret of immortality. (Grades 6-9)

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

books like Percy Jackson

‘The Grimm Fairytales were just stories,’ or so Elizabeth thinks, until she discovers that some of the more famous and magical objects are very, very real! (Grades 6-9)

I.Q. by Roland Smith

books like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jacksonbooks like Percy Jackson

Q and Angela have rock star parents who may know more about the dangerous world of spies and terrorists than they let on… (Grades 6-8)

The Mysterious Benedict Society  by Trenton Lee Stewart

books like Percy Jackson

The Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened… where they train you to be a criminal mastermind. (Grades 6-9)

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

books like Percy Jackson

The Bartimaeus Trilogy. When young magician Nathaniel summons the ancient, powerful, and mischevious djinni Bartimaeus, he gets more than he bargained for! (Grades 6-9)

The Shadow Thief by Anne Ursu

books like Percy Jackson

Cronus Chronicles Trilogy. Charlotte sneaks into battle with a Greek demigod, then gets grounded for it. Still she continues on to fight the malevolent forces of the under-world. Charlotte’s life is tough! (Grades 7-9)

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

World War I is waged between the ‘Darwinists,’ with their fantastic genetically-altered creatures, and the ‘Clankers,’ who pilot giant robots. Aleksander and Deryn are caught in the middle! (Grades 7+)

See any good titles here? Any favorites? Any on your “must read” list? Please share in the comments below!

 

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Looking for a better guide for successful homeschooling? The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook is a simple step-by-step guide to creating and understanding a Waldorf inspired homeschool plan. Within the pages of this comprehensive homeschooling guide, parents will find information, lesson plans, curriculum, helpful hints, behind the scenes reasons why, rhythm, rituals, helping you fit homeschooling into your life. Discover how to educate your children in a nurturing and creative environment.
The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

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20. Heartlandia

Beloved Portland restaurant The Country Cat is this city's go-to for rustic yet elegant Midwestern farmers fare. Chefs Adam and Jackie Sappington call Heartlandia, "glorified gramma food." Restaurant-proven recipes are made nicely manageable for the home cook. Now we can enjoy "The Cats" savory goodness at home and in our jammies. Books mentioned in this [...]

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21. Historical Research

Whether you're writing fiction or nonfiction, if your book takes place in the past you need to do your research.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/5-ways-to-take-your-readers-back-in-time-the-importance-of-historical-research

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22. Between You and Me

Get it?

Get it?

I believe it was Joan who prompted me to get myself in the library hold queue for Between You and Me by Mary Norris and I am glad I did! Norris has spent over thirty years as a copy editor for The New Yorker. She has stories! She also knows her grammar. Although she frequently recognizes that New Yorker style and the grammar everyone else uses don’t always align. And yes, she reports people being afraid her at parties, worried they are going to say something incorrect and that she will judge them. Norris insists she has no time or inclination for that malarky yet however reassuring she tries to be, there are some who can’t believe she isn’t silently ripping them to shreds.

A pity too because if she is anything in person like she is in her book, she has a great sense of humor. Though as a grammar geek she does have issues as anyone who is geeky about something will. Like the time she read Light Years by James Salter. She had been hearing about how good he is for a long time and finally decided to read one of his books. She loved it but was pulled up by one sentence, particularly a comma in that one sentence, that seemed to her unnecessary. It bugged her so much she wrote him a letter asking about it. Salter kindly wrote back to her and explained why he used a comma where he did and Norris was completely satisfied with his answer. How many of us would write an author about a comma?

The book is part memoir, part grammar lesson, and sprinkled with the occasional hint of annoyance over all the mistakes people make on a daily basis. There is an entire chapter on “you and I” versus “you and me” and why most of the time “you and me” is the correct usage. Another chapter discusses the problem of there being no gender non-specific pronoun in English that accounts for he and she, him and her, forcing people into terrible grammar contortions and even prompting many to suggest such near atrocities as “ne, nis, nim” or “shi, shis, shim” or “mef” or “hu.” She acknowledges most people have thrown in the towel and settled for “they” and “their” and while she can manage to not be too upset by “they,” “their” is completely unacceptable in her book.

Other things we learn are the correct usage of “which” and “that.” While I was reading it I felt I would never forget the rules but if you ask me right now I will mumble something about restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses and oh, I’m sorry, I have to go take this phone call. I know I get these mixed up all the time but it is hard to make myself care. Should I?

One of my favorite chapters is on dashes, semicolons, and colons. I love dashes and once, long ago, after reading all of Emily Dickinson’s poems over the course of a month, I became a dash maniac. I have since tempered my usage but —oh! — I love them so. I used to be terrified of semicolons and would do my best to avoid any sentence that might need one. But a few years ago I read something, I can’t remember what, that gave me the confidence to start using them. And once I began I decided I really like semicolons even if I am never actually certain whether I am using them correctly. In her chapter Norris does a marvelous analysis on how Henry James uses semicolons. You will not be surprised to know he is absolutely brilliant at it. I am shy about colons and will probably always remain so. I had a writing teacher once drill into my head that a colon was like a big neon sign and that if I ever used one, what came after it had better be good. I guess you could say my shyness of colons stems from a fear that I could never say anything good enough to justify a neon sign. Norris is more reassuring on the matter but I believe I have been scarred for life.

At times I felt like Norris comes across a teeny bit condescending and know-it-all. Perhaps given her position at the New Yorker she really does know it all, but no one likes that especially when it comes to grammar. She has a light, breezy style and is witty and funny, but sometimes her jokes fell flat with me, particularly in her chapter about profanity. However, Between You and Me is overall a fun and enjoyable book that includes some of the most pleasant grammar lessons I have ever had. I highly recommend it should you ever need something to fill an empty spot in your TBR pile.


Filed under: Books, Reviews, Writing Tagged: Grammar, Mary Norris

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23. MATT CHATS: Skullkickers Word Artist Marshall Dillon on the Life of a Letterer

It’s widely acknowledged is that a great letterer is one that you don’t notice. Marshall Dillon is often an exception to that rule. He made a big splash with his work on Skullkickers, a series with explosive action and silly sound effects.  Dillon has deepened his footprint in the comics industry on titles like Prince Valiant, the Thrilling Adventure Hour […]

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24. Publishing Jobs: Penguin Random House, Amazon

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25. “Rear Window,” #encaustic on birch in hand-painted...



“Rear Window,” #encaustic on birch in hand-painted frame, overall size 14 x14 inches. © 2015 by Lisa Firke.

In other news, I managed not to ruin it before getting it into this (very) (vibrant) frame.



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