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1. “Where do you buy these?”

barnesnoble cherryhillNJ 300x231 Where do you buy these?

Barnes and Noble at Cherry Hill, NJ.

Eight years ago, the question shocked me: “Mr. Ribay, where do you buy these?”

The student was holding up a book. He had no idea where to buy a book. That was my first year teaching in Camden, NJ and the first time I had ever encountered someone who had to ask this question. But it wouldn’t be the last.

“Umm,” I said, “a bookstore.”

The answer seemed obvious, but later I thought about it further. Had I bought it in a physical bookstore? I probably purchased it online. This eighth grader couldn’t do that without a parent with a credit card. And where was the nearest bookstore? It was in the suburbs, and, again, this eighth grader probably couldn’t get there without someone willing and able to drive him.

Furthermore, the city’s public libraries left much to be desired. They actually closed down completely a few years later, making Camden the largest city in the United States at the time without a public library (thankfully, a couple branches eventually reopened as part of the county system).

camdenfreepubliclibrary 500x375 Where do you buy these?

The Camden Free Public Library

That simple, surprising question actually spoke volumes: Camden, the resting place of Walt Whitman, was a literary desert. It’s not that there weren’t people who still read and wrote, as there certainly were. I knew students who read well above their grade level, inhaling books like oxygen, and then offering profound comments that left me reeling. But the sad truth was that they were few and far between.

Many students in the inner-city do not grow up in literacy-rich environments. They may not have been read to regularly as children. Their houses might not have contained several shelves of books. They might not take regular trips to the library or a store that only sells books.

Eight years later, I now teach high school English at a charter school in West Philadelphia, but this question and its implications have remained in the forefront of my mind. Relative to the nearby neighborhood schools, our students perform pretty well, with a vast majority of each graduating class gaining acceptance to four-year colleges or universities.

Yet our average student still reads below grade level, our top students’ SAT scores are unimpressive, and a majority of our students couldn’t tell you the last time they read an entire book for fun.

I appreciate the complexity behind acquiring language and literacy. But it seems to me that on the whole these are the cumulative consequences of not being surrounded by books and learning to love them. It’s a simple truth overlooked amidst today’s mania for testing: if kids experience the joy of reading, they will read more and become better readers. A student bombarded with practice reading comprehension questions or scripted intervention curriculum for hours a day, year after year, learns only that they hate what they are being told is “reading.”

So, fellow educators, how do you get your students to love reading, to enjoy a book so much that they want to find a bookstore and go buy it? How did you ever get to that point?

share save 171 16 Where do you buy these?

The post “Where do you buy these?” appeared first on The Horn Book.

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2. The Imaginary Veterinary: Review Haiku

Coolest internship
ever. But watch out for those
Welcome Wagon-eers!

The Imaginary Veterinary #1: The Sasquatch Escape and The Imaginary Veterinary #2: The Lonely Lake Monster by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Dan Santat. Little Brown, 2013, 240 pages.

0 Comments on The Imaginary Veterinary: Review Haiku as of 4/18/2014 7:23:00 AM
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3. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy: Review Haiku

A few obvious
plot points, perhaps, but still,
a marvelous story.

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee. Knopf, 2014, 240 pages.

0 Comments on Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy: Review Haiku as of 4/16/2014 6:07:00 AM
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4. Reviews/praise for LITTLE GREEN MEN AT THE MERCURY INN

My editor just sent me this fantastic review of LITTLE GREEN MEN AT THE MERCURY INN from Publishers Weekly!

"In this gleefully absurd tale, Smith (Chronal Engine) unfurls a series of alien-inspired hijinks at a space-themed motel on Florida’s Space Coast...Arnold’s skillfully drafted spot cartoons give this offbeat story a lively layout and match Smith’s light and breezy tone, grounded by the occasional serious moment. The result is an engaging, humorous look at humans learning that they’re not alone in the universe."

--Publishers Weekly

And check out these awesome blurbs!

"Aliens, government coverups, bionic limbs, kooky scientists, luau pigs, conspiracy theories, and mysterious patio furniture—I don't know about you, but these are the things I look for in a great story. Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn has all of them, plus a huge dose of humor. Read it and enjoy, but be warned: You may never want to eat roast pork ever again."

—Matthew Holm, co-creator of Babymouse and Squish

“Here is a story for everyone who has ever wondered if that brilliant green light was a UFO.  It's for everyone who has ever imagined living on Mars. In short, it's for everyone who has ever asked the question, 'who am I, really?’  Read it, then make your reservations at the Mercury Inn.  Just don’t be alarmed if you find an alien in the refrigerator."

--Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor author of The Underneath

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5. MMGM Shout Out: THE PECULIAR, by Stefan Bachmann (Plus the 4/14/14 links)

Woo Hoo--EVERBLAZE is ALMOST done! I have a few tiny changes to make, and a final polish read to do over the next couple of days, and then it is FINISHED. Not gonna lie--I never thought I'd get there. BUT I MADE IT. And I can't wait for you guys to read in November! I hope you love it as much as I do.

I'm a little loopy tonight from a crazy weekend (events on Fri, Sat, & Sun--*collapses*) but I am trying to get back on track with these MMGM shout outs. So I have a quick one for you guys today for a book I adore: THE PECULIAR, by Stefan Bachmann.


This is one of those books that I bought entirely because of the cover. I didn't know what it was about.  I hadn't heard anything about it. But I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER! It was begging me to read it. So I did, and...wow.  It was one of those books I couldn't put down. Such a cool world, such a page turning plot, and holy crow can Stefan Bachmann write. I can't believe he was a teenager when he wrote it. Way to make the rest of us look bad!

If you haven't read it yet, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it.  You can find it on Goodreads HERE

And make sure you also check out these other MMGMs happening throughout the blogosphere:

- Jennifer at 5 Minutes for Books is cheering for ALWAYS, EMILY. Click HERE to see her feature. 
- Susan Olson is on the edge of her seat for RISKED. Click HERE to see why. 
- Charlotte Ritchie is caught up in the MUSEUM OF THIEVES. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Rcubed is talking about common middle grade themes. Click HERE to see what they are. 
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten has chills for DIEGO'S DRAGON. Click HERE to see why.   
- Jenni Enzor is unlocking EIGHT KEYS. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Sue Heavenrich is chasing PRISONER 88. Click HERE to see why. 
- Greg Pattridge is gushing about HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL. Click HERE to see his review.
- Daniel Johnston has chills for SHREDDERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY. Click HERE to see his feature 
- Suzanne Warr is spreading some love for SAVVY. Click HERE to see why.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

0 Comments on MMGM Shout Out: THE PECULIAR, by Stefan Bachmann (Plus the 4/14/14 links) as of 4/14/2014 7:07:00 AM
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6. Wanderville: Review Haiku

Sweetly old-fashioned,
like a Mickey Rooney/
Judy Garland movie.

Wanderville by Wendy McClure. Razorbill, 2014, 211 pages.

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7. #535 – The Chronicle of Egg, Book 3: Blue Sea Burning by Geoff Rodkey

egg 3The Chronicles of Egg, Book 3:  Blue Sea Burning

by Geoff Rodkey

G. P. Putnam’s Sons               4/03/2014

an imprint of Penguin Group

978-0-399-25787-2

Age 8 to 12        376 pages

“After narrowly escaping the New Lands, Egg is determined to take down ruthless slave trader Roger Pembroke. But war is brewing among the Blue Sea’s pirate gangs—and Egg, Guts, and Kira are running out of time to find the Fire King’s treasure and free the Okalu slaves from the silver mine on Sunrise. Can they save Kira’s people before Sunrise is plundered by Ripper Jones’s pirates? Will Burn Healy save the day, or has the legendary captain finally met his match? And will Egg ever win back Millicent from the annoyingly handsome Cyril?  


“This explosive conclusion to Egg’s journey delivers the ultimate combination of humor, heart, and white-knuckle adventure.”

Opening

“Burn Healy’s pirate ship was sinking. And we were on it.”

The Story

Blue Sea Burning, the third and final installment of The Chronicle of Egg begins where book 2 ended. Roger Pembroke had raided Pella Nonna, making himself governor. His first official act involved Egg and a noose. The people gathered, the “new” army gathered, and Pembroke gave his first official speech justifying why he should, no, why it is imperative that this child should die, despite the mercy to children law everyone, including pirates, followed.

Burn Healy walked up and, using the same law, saved Egg. Egg and his “new” Uncle Burn walk the gangway together onto Healy’s ship. Heading to Deadweather Island for much needed repairs, a little R & R, and dropping off the reformed Adonis. He had plans to take over the ugly fruit plantation—with Egg’s help, but Egg found himself sidetracked and back on the Grift with Guts, Kira, and Quint, the plantation cook, now the ship’s carpenter.

Egg still wants to take down Pembroke and get back into Millicent’s life. Kira wants to avenge her tribe’s devastation and take down Pembroke. Guts, he wants to go wherever Kira goes, and take down Pembroke. Burn Healy wants to fix his ship, appease his crew, avoid Li Homaya and Ripper Jones—both are out to get him. Aboard the Grift, they all took off for Sunrise Island, where Healy will withdraw his ten million and appease his crew. Of course, things do not always go as planned for Egg and those around him. It was time Egg, Guts, and Kira had some good luck, but will they?

Review

I was so thrilled to find Egg on my doorstep. Who would have thunk that one day I would say this and mean it? I loved the first two books and could not wait for the final instalment. Just like the first two, there is action to keep you on the edge of your seat. There are a few “aw” moments when things finally take a turn for the better. The journey is a gloriously long one, which I wish had not ended . . . at least not the way it did. I found it disappointing after all that Egg had been through, but happy endings are not required in middle grade novels. Oh, wait, they really are. Truth is[SM1] , the ending is happy, just not the happy I wanted to read. But, no spoilers here. I can’t say what I didn’t like about the ending, though I wish I could. So, after you read Blue Sea Burning, please send me an email, let me know what you thought and I will reveal what I thought that I wouldn’t say now. I wonder whether there might be a fourth book, or maybe a new tale. One can hope.

Not read book 1 or 2? Want to skip to the third? It’s possible. Egg, a wonderful narrator, fills in enough background that you can read book 3 first and enjoy it. I think you’ll then go to book 1 and 2 then possibly repeat book 3. I don’t recommend it, but it is your choice. However, you want to read the series is up to you, but read it. If you like pirates, those sneaky, sleazy, scoundrels, you will enjoy The Chronicle of Egg. Throw in a secret source of power and greed, and the men who want it more than anything else, and you get a dystopian world that is not far from reality.

There is violence but nothing gruesome or highly detailed that I would not allow a boy, or girl, age 8 read the series. Rodkey knows how to write for middle graders and make it riveting for all levels of reading and maturity. It is difficult at times to believe this is Rodkey’s debut, which he calls a “comedy-adventure.” His world is believable and not far from the lay of the land here. Could this have been how the world once worked? Book 1 is an easier read than 2, and 2 easier than 3, as I think it should be. Kids change a lot from age 8 to 12, as do their reading abilities The Chronicle of Egg grows with them.

If you like good ole’ pirate action, from the pirates and non-pirates, family relationships that grow, and a happy ending (that may or may not lead to a new book), you will love The Chronicle of Egg. The characters will grow on you and you will miss them between books. There are no illustrations—wouldn’t those have been so cool!—but you will see nearly everything in your mind’s eye. It is hard not to see, and sometimes feel, the action. The best thing to hope for, after finishing the series, is a big production movie. I don’t know if the series has been optioned, but The Chronicle of Egg would make a great grand movie. Until then, enjoy your time at sea, at Deadweather Island, at Sunrise, and all the lands in between. Finally, keep your eyes and ears open, I hear tell there are pirates on the loose.

THE CHRONICLE OF EGG, BOOK 3: BLUE SEA BURNING. Text copyright © 2014 by Geoff Rodkey. Reviewed by permission of the publisher, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY.

Learn more about The Chronicle of Egg HERE.

Buy the series at AmazonB&NPenguin Group—your local bookstore.

.

Meet the author, Geoff Rodkey a his website:  http://geoffrodkey.com/                                                                                 “A Word from Author Geoff Rodkey”

Follow the publisher at the G. P. Putnam’s Sons‘ twitter:  https://twitter.com/PutnamBooks

Find more books at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group.

.

.

egg 3 

[SM1]


Filed under: 5stars, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: children's book revieews, comedy-adventure, Egg, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Geoff Rodkey, high seas, island kings, Penguin Group, pirates, ruthless villian Roger Pembroke, treasure maps

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8. Operation Bunny: Review Haiku

It doesn't always
make sense, but you'll still enjoy
the ride. (Love Fidget!)

Operation Bunny (Wings & Co. Book #1) by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts. Square Fish, 2014, 192 pages.

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9. Prophecy by Ellen Oh (The Dragon King Chronicles #1)

PROPHECY by Ellen Oh Series: The Dragon King Chronicles Hardcover: 320 pages Publisher: HarperTeen (January 2, 2013) Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope... Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the

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10. April 2014 Releases!

By

Vanessa Di Gregorio

Spring is (sorta) here. Hurrah!

Good riddance, snow! As much as I love curling under a warm blanket to read in the winter months, it just doesn’t compare to the feeling of warm sunshine. But Spring also means rainy days, and nights that are uncomfortably chilly compared to the balmy days – not that I’m complaining! Because, of course, it also means MORE BOOKS.

Now, before I get to the list of April YA & MG books that have caught my eye, I do have to point out that we’ve got a bit of celebrating to do. Because this month, the sequel TAKEN by our very own Erin Bowman is releasing! FROZEN is here! AND IT IS SO PRETTY. ‘Grats, Erin!

And without further ado…

April 1

Love-Letters-to-the-Dead  Dorothy-Must-Die  Salvage
LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD Ava Dellaira (YA Contemporary)
DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige (YA Fantasy)
SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan (YA Science Fiction)

Stolen-Songbird  The-Ring-and-the-Crown  Rose-and-the-Lost-Princess
STOLEN SONGBIRD by Danielle L. Jensen (YA Fantasy)
THE RING AND THE CROWN by Melissa De La Cruz (YA Fantasy)
ROSE AND THE LOST PRINCESS by Holly Webb (MG Fantasy)

Going-Over  Sekret
GOING OVER by Beth Kephart (YA Historical)
SEKRET by Lindsay Smith (YA Historical / Paranormal)

April 8

The-Nethergrim  The-Klaatu-Terminus  Plus-One
THE NETHERGRIM by Matthew Jobin (MG Fantasy)
THE KLAATU TERMINUS by Pete Hautman (MG Fantasy)
PLUS ONE by Elizabeth Fama (YA Dystopian)

The-Interrogation-of-Ashala-Wolf  Toxic-Heart  Dreams-of-Gods-and-Monsters
THE INTERROGATION OF ASHALA WOLF by Ambelin Kwaymullina (YA Dystopian)
TOXIC HEART by Theo Lawrence (YA Dystopian)
DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS by Laini Taylor (YA Fantasy)

Upside-Down-in-the-Middle-of-Nowhere  Rebel-Belle  Far-From-You
UPSIDE DOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE by Juliet Lamana (MG Contemporary)
REBEL BELLE by Rachel Hawkins (YA Fantasy)
FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe (YA Mystery)

The-Here-and-Now  Always-Emily
THE HERE AND NOW by Ann Brashares (YA Science Fiction)
ALWAYS EMILY by Michaela MacColl (YA Historical / Mystery)

Sea-of-Shadows  Noggin

SEA OF SHADOWS by Kelley Armstrong (YA Fantasy)
NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley (YA Science Fiction)

April 15

 Frozen by Erin Bowman  House-of-Ivy-and-Sorrow  The-Forbidden-Library

FROZEN by PC’s own Erin Bowman (YA Dystopian)
HOUSE OF IVY AND SORROW by Natalie Whipple (YA Fantasy)
THE FORBIDDEN LIBRARY by Django Wexler (MG Fantasy)

A-World-Without-Princes   The-Forever-Song   The-Geography-of-You-and-Me
A WORLD WITHOUT PRINCES by Soman Chainani (MG Fantasy)
THE FOREVER SONG by Julie Kagawa (YA Paranormal)
THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME by Jennifer E. Smith (YA Contemporary)

The-Accidental-Keyhand   High-and-Dry
THE ACCIDENTAL KEYHAND by Jen Swann Downey (MG Fantasy)
HIGH AND DRY by Sarah Skilton (YA Mystery)

April 22

The-Boundless  The-Eighth-Day  Talker-25

THE BOUNDLESS by Kenneth Oppel (MG Fantasy)
THE EIGHTH DAY by Dianne K. Salerni (MG Fantasy)
TALKER 25 by Joshua McCune (YA Fantasy)

Prisoner-of-Night-and-Fog  The-Inventors-Secret  She-Is-Not-Invisible
PRISONER OF NIGHT AND FOG by Anne Blankman (YA Historical)
THE INVENTOR’S SECRET by Andrea Cremer (YA Science Fiction / Steampunk)
SHE IS NOT INVISIBLE by March Sedwick (YA Mystery)

Deceptions-Princess   Expiration-day
DECEPTION’S PRINCESS by Esther Friesner (YA Fantasy)
EXPIRATION DAY by William Campbell Powell (YA Science Fiction)

April 29

The-Luck-Uglies  The-Taking  In-The-Shadows
THE LUCK UGLIES by Paul Durham (MG Fantasy)
THE TAKING by Kimberly Derting (YA Science Fiction)
IN THE SHADOWS by Kiersten White, Illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo (YA Paranormal)

Anyone else notice the two middle-grade books centered around libraries coming out the same day?

As always, if  you know about any April releases that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments! And add them to my Goodreads April 2014 MG & YA Releases list.

— 

Vanessa Di Gregorio works in publishing as a sales rep at Ampersand, a book and gift sales agency. She is also a former literary agency intern. When she isn’t out selling books and talking to bookstores, Vanessa can be found over at Something Geeky, GoodreadsTwitter, or writing for Paper Droids.

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11. MMGM Links (4/7/14)

I know I'm skipping another MMGM shout out, but this time I am SURE I will get back on track next week because I JUST TURNED IN THE REVISION OF EVERBLAZE!!!!  I'm not exaggerating when I say that was the hardest revision I've ever done, so I'm very happy to have it behind me. Here's hoping I got it right!

I also have a couple of events this week, in case you're in the SoCal area:

Friday, 4/11
7:00 pm
Mysterious Galaxy Books 
7051 Claremont Mesa Blvd. #302
San Diego, CA 90278
*with JR Johannson, Nancy Holder, Debra Driza, and Rachel Hawkins

Sunday, 4/13
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
LA Times Festival of Books
Booth 732
USC Campus


Hope to see some of you there! And now, here's the MMGM links:

- Elise joins the MMGM fun with her first review ever, about 11 BIRTHDAYS. Click HERE to welcome her to the group.  
- Jess at Reading Nook is sweet on A SNICKER OF MAGIC. Click HERE to see why.   
- Katie Fitzgerald is highlighting the first two books in the GRIMMTASTIC GIRLS series. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Rcubed is in love with WALK TWO MOONS. Click HERE to see her feature.. 
- Michelle Mason is covering the REAL MERMAIDS series. Click HERE to see why. 
- Claire Caterer has an awesome giveaway, where the winner gets to pick their prize! Click HERE for details.  
- Greg Pattridge is gushing about I AM NOT JOEY PIGZA. Click HERE to see his review.
- Suzanne Warr is championing STRANDED. Click HERE to see why.
- Daniel Johnston is on the edge of his seat for RUNNING OUT OF TIME. Click HERE to see his feature
- Rosi Hollinbeck has two features this week, for  A BIRD ON THE WATER and STAINED. Click HERE to learn more about them. 
- Laurisa White Reyes is singing praises for MOCKINGBIRD. Click HERE to see what she thought.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

0 Comments on MMGM Links (4/7/14) as of 4/7/2014 7:37:00 AM
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12. Five, Six, Seven, Nate!: Review Haiku

Dammit, I should LOVE
these books, but I just . . . well . . .
kinda . . . don't. Merrily!

Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. S&S, 2014, 304 pages.

0 Comments on Five, Six, Seven, Nate!: Review Haiku as of 4/7/2014 8:17:00 AM
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13. #532 – Evil Fairies Love Hair by Mary G. Thompson

evvil fariries kve hair.

Evil Fairies Love Hair

by Mary G. Thompson

Clarion Books       8/5/2014

978-0-547-85903-3

Age 8 to 12       320 pages

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“You could be gorgeous, brilliant, a star athlete, or great singer, or you could put a hex on your worst enemy. And all you have to do is raise a flock of two-inch-tall fairies. Easy, right? Wrong. Ali learns this the hard way when her flock-starter fairies get to work. Raising them means feeding them, and what they eat is hair. Lots and lots of human hair. Where to get the hair is Ali’s first challenge. What about the beauty salon? Easy, right? Before long, Ali’s friends, classmates, teachers, sister, and parents are entangled with the evil fairies, who have their own grandiose and sinister agenda. It’s up to Ali to overcome these magical troublemakers and set things right.”

Opening

“AGREEMENT 1. Alison E. B. Butler in exchange for one wish, hereby agree: . . .”

The Story

Alison is raising a flock of evil fairies in exchange for one wish. She wants to be smarter than her sister, who get s straight A’s and her parent’s attention. She has two problems right away. Michael gave her the two flock-starters and now he insists on checking up on her, constantly. It wouldn’t be so bad if he weren’t the second worst jerk in town. His brother is number one and dating Ali’s sister Hannah—the one who can do no wrong. Second problem, the baby fairies. All the babies want is to eat and they eat human hair, lots if it. Where is Ali going to get all that hair? She can’t use her own, and keeps her hair in a high bun to ensure the fairies don’t get to her hair. The boys shave their head.

Ali spots the beauty salon across from the middle school. They throw hair away every day. Ali tries to grab some of the discarded hair, but Mrs. Hopper, who has cut the Butler family’s hair since forever, catches her. Ali learns that Mrs. Hopper is not who she seems to be and wants to rescue Mrs. Hopper—the real Mrs. Hopper. Hopper is not the only one held captive. Molly and Tyler, who broke the rules while raising their flocks, are now suffering the penalty, and Mrs. Hopper—the fake one—is now holding them captive. Will Ali be able to free all three? Can she be able to get anyone else to help? Most importantly, will Ali raise her full flock and get her wish?

Review

I love Evil Fairies Love Hair. It has some normal teenage angst, a normal family, middle school casts, two flockstarters who may or may not help, and a good dash of magic. The good kids are not always as good as they seem and the bad kids are not as bad as everyone, including parents, believe. Then there are the little evil fairies, who may not be fairies at all. Evil Fairies Love Hair could be a confusing story, but events happen in good time and everything flows nicely from one plot point to the next. In fact, I had read half the book before I thought to check the time. I didn’t want to put the book down.

From the title, Evil Fairies Love Hair, I had no idea what to expect. The fairy on the cover is odd looking with large, bulging eyes that fill up half her face and a baldhead. She looks demanding and she and her fellow fairies are a demanding bunch. Their leader put the fairies in this position and was now trying to get them to where she wanted to be in the first place. Problem is, she easily makes mistakes, mainly due to her enormous ego. I love the humor and the middle school principal who never has a clue what his students are doing. He just wants them back to class. All the adults are clueless.

Middle grade kids will love this story. It will have them thinking about what they would wish for, if they had the opportunity. Kids will also wonder what getting their wish would cause to those around them. Would it be worth it to have everything you want? This is the author’s sophomore novel. (Escape from the Pipe Men! is her debut and will be reviewed here soon.) The writing is excellent. The story pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages. Kids looking for a magical tale with a few twists and turns will want to read Evil Fairies Love Hair. You may think you know what a fairy is and what a fairy does, but do you really? To find out, you need to read Evil Fairies Love Hair. Be careful what you wish for—you might just get it!.

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EVIL FAIRIES LOVE HAIR. Text copyright © 2014 by Mary G. Thompson. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Blake Henry. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Boston MA.

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Learn about Evil Fairies Love Hair HERE.

Buy Evil Fairies Love Hair at AmazonB&NClarion Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet author Mary G. Thompson at her website:  http://www.marygthompson.com/

Find more intriguing books at the Clarion Books website:  http://www.hmhco.com/

Clarion Books is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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Also by Mary G Thompson

Escape from the Pipe Men!

Escape from the Pipe Men!

Wuftoom

Wuftoom

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NEW from Clarion Books

The Twin Powers

The Twin Powers

 

The Perfect Place

The Perfect Place

evil fairies love hair


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Middle Grade Tagged: children's book reviews, Clarion Books, ego, fairies, hexes, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, imps, Mary G. Thompson, middle grade novel, relationships, wishes

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14. Hidden Like Anne Frank: Fourteen True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis

Most people are familiar with the story about how and why Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the attic of her father's business in Amsterdam after Adolf Hitler's army invaded Holland.  The diary she wrote as a young teenager is a priceless artifact of those terrible times.  Anne, her sister Margot, and her mother did not survive after they were captured by the Nazis, only her father lived.  But Anne diary has become a symbol of courage, innocence, and one of the most tragic periods in recent history.

But if you knew Anne and her family were hidden away from the Nazis, you also probably figured that there were more, many, many more that we haven't heard much about.  Indeed, according to Marcel Prins, author of  Hidden Like Anne Frtank, approximately 28,000 Jews went into hiding during the Nazi occupation of Holland.  Of those, around 16,000 survived, and 12,000 did not.  Fascinated by his own mother's story of hiding and surviving, Prins collected stories of other children like her, and the result is Hidden Like Anne Frank, fourteen true stories of surviving the Holocaust by Jewish youths, both boys and girls, stories that are all different, all dangerous, all told in their own words.

Prins begins the book with his own mother's account of going into hiding.  Only 5 at the time, Rita Degen was forced to lie about her age and say she only going on 5, not 6, so that she wouldn't have to wear the required Yellow Star that marked her as Jewish.   She was quickly removed from her first foster family when someone recognized her, but luckily placed by the resistance in another home, where she was wanted.

Frightened by the deportations, Bloeme Emden, 16, was one of the people to be called up.  Her father managed to get it delayed, but that didn't last long.  She was told that if she didn't show up, her parents and younger sister would be taken.  Bloeme managed to get away again, but ultimately ended up in Auschwitz, where she ran into friends from school - Margot and Anne Frank.  Her parents and sister did not survive the Holocaust.

Hiding, constantly needing to change your identity, both name and religion, forced to lie and to live in fear are all part of the stories by these fourteen survivors.  At times, most of these youths managed to survive with the help of the Dutch Resistance, at other times, they simply survived by their own wits using creativity, stealth, craftiness.  Some found themselves in situations where they welcomed and cared for, others were taken advantage of, or terribly mistreated.  They were separated from their families and many never saw them again.  All of their individual stories attest to the horrors of the Holocaust.

Hidden Like Anne Frank is a fascinating, compellingly poignant collection of true stories.  The individual accounts are not very long, but they certainly convey the fear and danger that al Jews in hiding were forced to live with day by day, never knowing if they would see tomorrow or not, if they would see their loved ones again or not.  Prins has included lots of old photographs from the times before and after the children were hidden and at the end of the book, there are recent photographs of each person who contributed their story.

Hidden Like Anne Frank book should have lots of appeal for young readers, many, no doubt, will be drawn to it by Anne's name on the cover.  But it is also a perfect collection for any classroom when students begin studying World War II and the Holocaust.

This book is recommended for readers age 12+
This book was received as an eARC from NetGalley

Be sure to visit the website devoted to Hidden like Anne Frank to hear more stories of survival told by these and other survivors.

This is book 1 of my European Reading Challenge hosted by Rose City Reader

0 Comments on Hidden Like Anne Frank: Fourteen True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis as of 4/5/2014 12:07:00 PM
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15. TURNING PAGES; THE WITCHES BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, II, by Richard Capwell

Well, you all know I can gush some about a book. REALLY gush. But, the pleasure of happening across a self-published gem like WITCHES BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION was such that I couldn't stop talking about it a couple of years ago. I'd read the WBI2... Read the rest of this post

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16. MMGM Links (3/31/14)

Okay, I'm going to have to skip this week's MMGM shout out again, but only because there were a LOT of links to put together. But I should be finishing this revision this week, (even if it kills me) so hopefully things will get back on track next week. In the meantime, here are all the awesome links:

- Jess at Reading Nook has a review of THE NINJA LIBRARIANS over HERE. And an interview with the author, plus a GIVEAWAY of 3 signed copies over HERE.
- Jenni Enzor is wild for WILD WINGS. Click HERE to see her feature.
- Rcubed is back for another week with a feature on THE WEDNESDAY WARS. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Michelle at 5 Minutes for Books is spotlighting HORSES OF THE DAWN. Click HERE to see why. 
- Claire Caterer is singing praises for THE SONG OF THE QUARKBEAST! Click HERE to read her review.  
- Natalie Aguirre is interviewing author Maureen McQuery, and GIVING AWAY a copy of BEYOND THE DOOR. Click HERE for all the fun.  
- Julie DeGuia is feeling the magic for two books this week, A SNICKER OF MAGIC, and THE WHIZZ POP CHOCOLATE SHOP. Click HERE to see her reviews.
- Mark Baker is laughing along with I, EVEN FUNNIER. Click HERE to read his review. 
- Janet Smart has chills for ICE DOGS. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge is going BOOM! Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Suzanne Warr is highlighting HATCHET. Click HERE to see why.
- Daniel Johnston is rooting for THE KID WHO RAN FOR PRESIDENT. Click HERE to see his feature
- Rosi Hollinbeck is cheering for SHANE--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Laurisa White Reyes is FIGHTING FOR DONTAE. Click HERE to see why.
- Dorine White is glowing for LUMINESCENCE. Click HERE to see her review. 
- Andrea Mack is shining a light on YESTERDAY'S DEAD. Click HERE to read her review.  
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.    


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

0 Comments on MMGM Links (3/31/14) as of 3/31/2014 9:07:00 AM
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17. The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing: Review Haiku

They would've gotten
away with it if it weren't
for those meddling kids.

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage. Dawson/Putnam, 2014, 368 pages.

0 Comments on The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing: Review Haiku as of 3/31/2014 7:19:00 AM
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18. Benjamin Franklin: Review Haiku

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Founding
Father, but Franklin was really
a scientist.

Benjamin Franklin (Giants of Science series) by Kathleen Krull. Viking, 2013, 121 pages.

0 Comments on Benjamin Franklin: Review Haiku as of 3/28/2014 8:31:00 AM
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19. Binny for Short: Review Haiku

Yes, another quirky
family, but wrapped up
into so much more.

Binny for Short by Hilary McKay. McElderry/S&S, 2013, 304 pages.

0 Comments on Binny for Short: Review Haiku as of 3/24/2014 7:27:00 AM
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20.

Gah--between revision and a conference all weekend, I didn't have the brainpower for an MMGM shout out this week. But I PROMISE I'll get back on track next week. In the meantime, I have links!

- Rcubed joins the MMGM fun with a feature on I REPRESENT SEAN ROSEN. Click HERE to welcome her to the group. 
- Birdie Reader is sweet on SPRINKLES & SECRETS. Click HERE to see why. 
- Claire Caterer is cheering for THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER! Click HERE to read her review.  
Sheri Larsen has chills for UNDERTAKERS: SECRET OF THE CORPSE EATER. Click HERE to see what she thought
- Sue Heavenrich is part of the CHARLIE BUMPERS Blog tour. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Michelle Mason is highlighting JUNIPER BERRY--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for details. 
- Janet Smart is singing praises for WHAT THE MOOD SAID. Click HERE to see why.
- Greg Pattridge is championing DESTINY, REWRITTEN. Click HERE to see what he thought. 
- Barbara Watson is spotlighting the middle grade books she purchased/won last month.  Click HERE to see what they are.
- Suzanne Warr is gushing about THE EIGHTH DAY. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Daniel Johnston is getting SCHOOLED. Click HERE to see why. 
- Susan Olson is highlighting BACK TO BLACKBRICK. Click HERE to see her review.  
- Rosi Hollinbeck is celebrating SEEING RED--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for all the fun. 
- Laurisa White Reyes is buddying up to CHARLIE BUMPERS AND THE REALLY NICE GNOME. Click HERE to see why.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!   
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.  
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome! 
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.


If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

0 Comments on as of 3/24/2014 8:57:00 AM
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21. #521 – The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood: A Creek Indian Story by Gerald Hausman & Ramon Shiloh

cover.

The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood: A Creek Indian Story

by Gerald Hausman &  Ramon Shiloh, illustrator

Wisdom Tales Press       10/01/2013

978-1-937786-12-0

Age 4 to 8       36 pages

“Based on a traditional story from the Creek Indians of northern Florida and Georgia, ‘The Otter, the Spotted Frog, & the Great Flood’ tells the tale of Listener the Otter, the only animal that heeds the warnings of Spotted Frog. Ridiculed by the other animals, Listener begins to build a raft to try and survive the impending disaster. But will his effort be enough?”                                                                     

Opening

“There were two animal people who lived in the long ago. One was Listener, a river otter. The other was Honors Himself, a buffalo chief.”

The Story

In the span of four days, Listener and Honors Himself would take different actions upon hearing the prophecy of Spotted Frog. Listener was the only one who had the ability to understand the frogs’ singing. Spotted Frog sang,

“A Great Flood is coming.

Soon it will cover the land.

I sing so that you can save yourselves.”

Honors Himself, who claims to hate frogs, throws Spotted Frog into the fire, but no matter how many times he does this, Spotted Frog remains unharmed. Honors Himself refuses to believe the prophecy though Other Woman tries to understand but can see no sign of rain. Listener reacted differently. He ass Spotted Frog to repeat the prophecy and then does exactly what Spotted Frog tells him to do—build a raft.

Honors Himself calls Listener a fool and the other animals laugh at Listener. Through it all, Listener continues to build his raft and follows all of what Spotted Frog tells him. Soon it starts to rain, lightly at first and then heavier. The ground swells with water and the swamp becomes a great lake. Water covers the land and rises. What becomes of  the other animals, Listener, Honors Himself, and Other Woman?

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Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

Review

The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood:  A Creek Indian Story tells the story of the flood and Noah’s Ark. It is an original story from the Creek Indians. Other Native Indian tribes have similar stories. Listener follows the prophet Spotted Frog, just as Noah followed God’s orders to build an ark. Honors Himself is the perfect name for those that followed only what they could see or knew, rejecting everything else. Honors Himself becomes so upset he tries to kill the prophet Spotted Frog. That reminds me of a saying, from who I do not know, that says not to kill the messenger.

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Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

The story also explains how man—the two-leggeds—came to exist. There is so much symbolism in The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood that this book is best for middle grades and above. I think younger children will understand the straightforward story of the Great Flood but not that of the birth of people—the two-leggeds. The transformation of Listener to a man might even test middle grade students. The Great Flood is the majority of the story and it is interesting. Listener ties his raft to a strong tree and rises up to the dome of the sky, safe from passing through it and never returning. With the rope, Listener connects to the tall, mighty oak—a  higher spirit, who in turn protects Listener

Teachers might find The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood a good book when teaching Native Indian traditions and teachings. This book also lends itself to the study of symbolism. The illustrations visually interpret the story giving the book an unmistakable folktale style. With the text, The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood will entertain the reader while instructing on the power of Mother Nature and of listening to her, to those more knowledgeable than oneself, and to a Higher Power. Animal stories have a way of capturing a child’s attention, so it is no surprise the Creek Indians used animals in this story.

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Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

I found The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood to be an interesting story that required a slower, more thoughtful reading, and even a second reading to fully comprehend all of the symbolism used. This is a beautiful book. The bright illustrations that will catch a child’s eye, just as the use of animals will hold their attention. The heavier pages will withstand grabbing by little hands.

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Learn more about The Otter, the Spotted Frog, & the Great Flood HERE.

Buy The Otter, the Spotted Frog, &the Great Flood at AmazonB&NWisdom TalesiTunesyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Gerald Hausman at his website:  http://www.geraldhausman.com/

Meet the illustrator, Ramon Shiloh at his website:  http://www.ramonshiloh.com/

Find other great children’s books at the Wisdom Tales Press website:  http://wisdomtalespress.com/

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THE OTTER, THE SPOTTED FROG & THE GREAT FLOOD: A CREEK INDIAN STORY. Text copyright © 2013 by Gerald Hausman. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Ramon Shiloh. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

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otter spotted frog and great flood

 


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Middle Grade, Picture Book Tagged: children's book reviews, Creek Indians, folktales, Gerald Hausman, Great Flood, Native Indians, Ramon Shiloh, Wisdom Tales Press

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22. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 25

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks.

Newsletter Update: In this relatively brief issue I have four book reviews (board book through young adult) and two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently. I had a particularly hectic couple of weeks at work, and wasn't able to post as much as I might have liked. But I have some Baby Bookworm tidbits at the end of this post. 

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read one early reader, one middle grade book, and two adult titles:

  • Noah Z. Jones: Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe #1: Moldylocks and the Three Beards. Scholastic. Early Reader. Completed March 17, 2014 (and read it many more times to my daughter, who adores this book). Review to come. 
  • Megan Frazer Blakemore: The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill. Bloomsbury. Middle Grade. Completed March 18, 2014 (ARC). Review to come. 
  • Maeve Binchy: A Week in Winter. Knopf. Adult Fiction. Completed March 19, 2014, on MP3. Simply delightful. 
  • Brigid Schulte: Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time. Sarah Crichton Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 23, 2014, on Kindle. I enjoyed parts of this book, and found a few useful take-aways. But I also found parts of it repetitive. There was a bit more about what the author thinks that the government and corporate America should be doing about the issue of overwhlemed parents than I was personally interested in. I was more looking for strategies for myself. But it was worth the time overall. 

I must admit that I stopped reading Insignia by S. J. Kincaid about halfway through. I had been enjoying it, but then I couldn't get on board with a major plot development, and found that I didn't want to finish. Fortunately it was a library book, rather than one that I had purchased. Right now I'm reading Dangerous by Shannon Hale on my Kindle and Eddie Red Undercover by Marcia Wells by in print. Not having quite gotten over my Maeve Binchy phase yet, I'm listening to her Whitethorn Woods

I've been reading on my Kindle while I ride my exercise boke, and listening to audiobooks while I go for walks, which means that most of the books I'm reading now are either digital or audiobooks. I'm so tired by the time I get to my bedtime reading that I haven't been making very good process with my print books, and they are stacking up a bit. I need a 48-hour book challenge, I guess. 

Baby Bookworm has started talking about how much she LOVES books, because we read her so many of them, and that's what she is used to. Not sure if she is trying to butter me up ahead of her upcoming fourth birthday, but it's nice to hear in any case. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her this year. She is currently obsessed with the first book in a new series by Noah Z. Jones about Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe: Moldylocks and the Three Beards. She also loves A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding and Alison Jay, a much more traditional tale.

At the library, she's still picking out TV tie-in books like Olivia, Arthur, and Charlie and Lola, though she doesn't actually watch the associated television shows. She can spot a Max and Ruby book by Rosemary Wells from across the room, and always brings home at least one of those, too. Any Fancy Nancy book that she hasn't already read is a surefire pick, too. We sat for over an hour in the library on Saturday, just reading whatever she picked up off of the shelves. Then we brought those books all home (and more). 

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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23. Mini-reviews- Reaper's Novice and Peregrine Harker

Title: Reaper’s Novice
 Author: Cecelia Roberts
 Series:  N/A
Warnings: non consensual kissing
Source: netgalley
Review: Anna is normal. she’s got a boyfriend, she’s doing well at school and  she’s looking forwards to a brilliant musical education. Then her family dies in a car crash, but she makes a deal with Ernst, aka Grim, aka Death. Her family gets to live, he gets her soul, and she gets to work, collecting souls for eternity. She gets used to this, but then she finds out other things about where Ernst comes from...and where she does.
I read this because I saw it on Netgalley and a book like that, with that title, pretty colours, and a girl with a violin, I couldn’t resist.
It starts off quickly. the car crash and meeting Ernst happens within the first few chapters. There’s a bit of mystery that comes up. Other things like the story to Ana’s background and the mythology of the world, which comes in later.
I really liked Ana. She’s cool. She’s a really good violinist (musical  talent always makes me love characters) and then it becomes plot relavent and this is where audiobooks come in handy. She also seems like a really good friend.
I didn’t like Zig. He’s creepy and full of himself. Ernst was cool. Rolf was kind of mediocre until about halfway through, then we get a big reveal and he becomes a lot more interesting.
The plot was good, but near the second half, the plot became quite confusing.  The writing was ok in places, good in others. The more descriptive parts were better written, such as the end bit with the violin, and  Ana seeing her first reaping of an old woman in a hospital, which was the most beautiful part in the book.
Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, tea to a fantasy novel with good writing.

Title: Peregrine Harker and the Black Death
 Author: Luke Hollands
Series:  N/A
Published:  3 June 2013 by Sparkling Books
Warnings: non consensual kissing
Source: netgalley
Review: Ever since Peregrine’s parents died, he’s worked for the Evening Enquirer. As a result of his behaviour and habit of writing stories of spies and thieves and espionage into his work which is meant to be factual, he is told to write a story about rising tea prices. Begrudgingly, he sets out to do this, and unexpectedly finds himself in amongst secret organisations, smuggling, and assassinations.
The first chapter takes place on a train, the epic conclusions of a match between Doctor Crick and Peregrine. The second chapter reveals that this was just a daydream of Peregrine’s, and that he is actually being told off by his editor and commissioned to write the tea article.
The plot moves along quickly, the investigation taking us many places, such as docks, posh hotels, backstreets of London and to France.
I liked Peregrine. He’s a great investigator, likable, and smart- like a less sad version of Gavroche (from Les Mis). I really like his enthusiasm for his job-and the fact it picks up when a dead body turns up.
I quite like Louisa too-the first time we meet her, she’s got a pistol and her governess is telling her not to fire that infernal thing indoors. Fun!
The pacing is good. There’s always something new happening and you’re kept intrigued throughout. The atmosphere of adventure is ever present-through London and Paris.
 arker. The


Overall:  Strength 3.5, just more a 3, tea to a younger historical mystery that’s a lot of fun.


0 Comments on Mini-reviews- Reaper's Novice and Peregrine Harker as of 3/26/2014 3:25:00 PM
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24. Across a War-Tossed Sea by L.M. Elliott

It's September 1943 near Richmond, Virginia and Bishop brothers, Wesley, 10, and Charles, 14, have been living with the Ratcliff family for over three years now, after being evacuated from war-torn London.  And there is nothing Charles, called Chuck by his American family, would like more than to return home and do his bit for the war, but his parents still refuse to let him.  Besides, Wesley still has frequent nightmares about firebombs hitting their home during the Blitz and about the possibility of being torpedoed by Nazi submarines while crossing the U-boat infested waters of the Atlantic and Charles feels responsible for taking care of him when they happen.

The Ratcliffs are a large farming family.  Patsy, the only girl, is 16 and has a boyfriend named Henry flying missions overseas, next is Bobby, 15, who has become a great pal of Chuck's, followed by Ron, 12, Wesley's real nightmare, and lastly are the twins, Jamie and Johnny, 7.  The war is a constant presence in this novel, making it truly a home front story.

Life isn't always easy for the Bishop brothers.  Ron has always jumped at every opportunity to bully Wesley.  So when Wes ends up skipping two grades and, much to Ron's annoyance, lands in his 7th grade class, the bullying only intensifies.  Charles, who has become quite muscular from farm work, has made it onto the football team along with Bobby.  Everyone must help out on the farm and the work is long and difficult, because of a dWes has a fascination for Native Americans that he has read about and longs to meet one, but when he does, much to his surprise, Mr. Johns is nothing like what he expected.  Wes also befriends a young African American boy, and learns first hand about segregation and prejudice.

And Chuck must come to terms with his feelings about the German POWs that are brought into the area and used to help on the farms, and, ultimately, on the Ratcliff farm as well.  The more he sees them, the angrier he becomes and the more he wants to go home and help.  Chuck is also dealing with a crush he has on Patsy, which is especially hard on him, since he knows that her heart belongs to someone doing just what he wishes he could do.

Across a War-Tossed Sea follows the Bishop boys and the Ratcliff family through the year up to and a little beyond the D-Day invasion at Normandy, France in June 1944.  It is a nice home front book that gives a good idea of what life was like for people in the United States, interspersed with letters exchanged between the boys and their parents, giving the reader a good picture of life in England under siege.  In fact, this is really like a series of vignettes all connected to each other.

Given all the things that happened in this novel, I thought it was odd that after living with the Ratcliffs for over three years, the boys would feel like new arrivals and make the kind of mistakes that would most likely happen in their first year.  But that didn't diminish my feelings about the story.

I thought Across a War-Tossed Sea was an exciting, interesting, thought provoking novel documenting life on the home front and the adjustments that had to be made by everyone during World War II.  At the end of the book, there is a very informative Afterword giving a short recap of what was going on in Europe, the evacuation of children overseas that sometimes ended in tragedy and further explaining many of the things referred to in the novel, such as U-boats, V-bombs and secret air bases (a particularly amusing part of the novel, even though it involves a runaway German POW).

Across a War-Tossed Sea is a companion book to Across a War-Torn Sky, which follows what happens to Patsy Ratcliff's boyfriend, Henry Forester, after he is shot down over France on a flying mission for the Air Force.  And, bringing things full circle, they are both companion pieces to A Troubled Peace, and the end of the war.  Luckily, I have not read the two companion books yet, so I have them to look forward to.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was an eARC received from Net Galley

Across a War-Tossed Sea will be available on April 1, 2014, meantime have a look at this very nicely done trailer:

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25. Interview with Varsha Barjaj, Author of Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Varsha!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Varsha Barjaj] I am hard working, idealistic, optimistic, loyal and driven!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood?

[Varsha Barjaj] What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star–in Bollywood! Now she’s traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India’s most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Can you share your favorite scene?

[Varsha Barjaj] My favorite scene is the one in which Abby and Shaan take a rickshaw ride to the beach in Mumbai. I loved writing the details of the rickshaw ride.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the story?

[Varsha Barjaj] Striking the balance between the fun, playful aspect of the story and the deeper issues of cultural identity, belonging within a family and being in a city with vast disparities between the rich and the poor.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Varsha Barjaj] My comb

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Varsha Barjaj] A picture of my family, A Don Quixote card holder, and a sunshine yellow “I Love Mom” mug made by my daughter.  

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Varsha Barjaj] Michelle Obama. I love her charm, her look and her intelligence.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Varsha Barjaj] I just finished re-reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and it blew me away. I also read the ARC for School of Charm by Lisa Ann Scott and was charmed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Varsha Barjaj] Readers can connect through my website or on twitter (@varshabajaj

Thank you for this opportunity to “talk” to you and your readers.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book:

What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star—in Bollywood! Now she’s traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India’s most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.

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