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1. An Intern’s Experience

blog picGoing into this summer, I did not have much of an idea of what I wanted to do with my life. As a rising senior English major at Washington & Lee University, I knew I had options, but having too many options gives me a headache, so I tended to push them all to the side and ignore the looming presence of adulthood. After a month of interning here at Arbordale Publishing, I am still at a loss as to what I want to do with my future, but now it’s not because I haven’t thought about it – it’s because I love everything I have been exposed to here!

I have always loved books. I could read my collection of Dr. Seuss books alone by the age of three, devoured the first Harry Potter book in kindergarten, and tried my hand at writing a few (now embarrassing) short stories throughout my elementary school years. Imagine my delight when I eventually discovered that there is a whole industry dedicated to reading, editing, and publishing new books! I started looking more deeply into the publishing industry during high school, and entered college knowing I wanted to be an English major. When I got the opportunity to intern at Arbordale Publishing this summer, I was excited to be one step closer to a job I have dreamed about for years.

Working with children’s books for the past month has been a fun summer activity, as well as a great introduction into the world of publishing. I have done everything from the typical reading submitted manuscripts and editing those that are accepted to the more creative designing activities in the books’ For Creative Minds sections and choosing photographs to go into a book currently in production. I have seen the schedule of a book’s journey from manuscript submission to eBook design to final printing, and learned of the hundreds of tiny steps that must happen in between to make for a successful story. More recently, I have witnessed all the work that goes into the publicity side of things, from getting stories reviewed to working with authors as they attend events to promote their book. Even with children’s books, the amount of work is no joke!

Thankfully, I have one more year to figure out what I’m going to be when I grow up. Do I want to go into editing or publicity? Should I write on the side? What am I going to enjoy the most? I am grateful to be here at Arbordale Publishing this summer, where I can explore so many different options and decide which aspect of publishing fits me best. Working with children’s books has been a wonderful way to learn the basics of story editing, fact checking, and appealing to specific markets without being overwhelmed by lengthy novels or heavy facts. Will I eventually wander into the world of books for adults? Probably, but this internship is the ideal jumping-off point for that journey. Now I just have to figure out where it’s going to take me.

–Cara Scott, Intern

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2. Work in Progress

An illustration piece in progress -

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3. The Princess and The Pony Giveaway

The Princess and The Pony by Kate Beaton

The Princess and The Pony by Kate Beaton

Hark! A giveaway! Read on for excerpts from cartoonist Kate Beaton's debut picture book,  The Princess and The Pony! Click the images for larger versions.

About the Book

Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year. A BIG horse. A STRONG horse. A horse fit for a WARRIOR PRINCESS! But when the day arrives, she doesn't quite get the horse of her dreams...

From the artist behind the comic phenomenon Hark! A VagrantThe Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of brave warriors, big surprises, and falling in love with one unforgettable little pony.

About the Author

Photo credit: Notker Mahr

Photo credit: Notker Mahr

Kate Beaton is the author of Hark! A Vagrant, her #1 New York Times bestselling collection of comics which began as a webcomic in 2007. The Princess and the Pony is her first picture book. She is the recipient of multiple Harvey awards, and her work has been featured in the New Yorker, Harper’s, and The Best American Comics Anthology. Kate lives in Toronto, and you can find her online at www.beatontown.com and on Twitter as @beatonna.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Samples & prizing are provided by Scholastic.

Alethea's Review

You can't really say I'm unbiased, since I've been a fan of Kate Beaton's work since before Hark! A Vagrant was available in book form. Her webcomic is off-color but still very clever, entertainingly drawn, and well-written. The Princess and The Pony is a lot less off-color and more colorful, and Beaton's signature sense of humor shines throughout.

The Princess and The Pony, pages 3-4

The Princess and The Pony, pages 3-4

Princess Pinecone is no ordinary princess. She's the offspring of two mighty warriors who rule over a land full of fighters, rogues, barbarians, and the like. And she would not like another cozy sweater for her birthday. Instead, she wants a mighty steed, a stallion, a powerful mount to ride into battle! Except, as things go, she may wish she had been more specific.

The Princess and The Pony, pages 7-8

The Princess and The Pony, pages 7-8

I mean, look at this pony. It's chubby. It's a little boss-eyed. It's a bit gassy. It couldn't strike fear into the heart of a romaine lettuce you're about to conquer. Princess Pinecone isn't happy with her present, but she tries to make the best of things.

The Princess and The Pony, pages 29-30

The Princess and The Pony, pages 29-30

Beaton's debut picture book does not disappoint. In addition to great artwork, a hilarious story, and a farty little pony, many readers will appreciate the biracial origins of Princess Pinecone, whose parents are a statuesque dark-skinned gladiatrix mom and a blond-bearded Viking dad. The knitter in me also appreciates all of the fun, silly, though not battle-appropriate cozy sweaters. If you get your hands on this book, make sure you take a moment to check out the back endpapers!

5 Stars - Stay up all night

Giveaway Time!


Two (2) winners each receive a copy of The Princess and the Pony. Just enter with the Rafflecopter widget below.

Please remember to include #PonyTime if you tweet about the book or the giveaway!

Prizes were provided by Scholastic.

  • Open to US only, ends 7/07/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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4. 10 Myths about Teaching STEM Books and How You Can Teach STEM in Your Classroom Now

STEM Friday + Lee & Low Books (1)Join Lee & Low Books and Anastasia Suen, Founder of the STEM Friday blog and award-winning children’s book author, for a dynamic discussion on how to teach STEM in your classroom starting this fall. Share My Lesson is hosting a Summer of Learning professional development series and Thursday, July 9 focuses on all things STEM.

With the right tools and support, we will show how educators can support all students to become successful in learning STEM content knowledge and conceptual understanding.

We will look at persistent myths about teaching STEM, explore the intersection of STEM and English Language Arts, and reexamine what makes a great STEM read aloud.

Sign up to learn how to discover the right STEM book and hands-on activities for your students’ interests and learning needs. We will cover strategies on inspiring and supporting underrepresented groups in STEM as well as how to differentiate for special populations.

In addition to learning about how Lee & Low titles can fit into your science and mathematics units and how to integrate STEM learning throughout your literacy block, teachers can earn an hour of professional development credit! The whole series is FREE and open to all.

At the end of the presentation, you will have strategies you can apply immediately to your classroom and resources for further exploration.

share my lesson 2Overview:

Title: Teach STEM Now

Date: Thursday, July 09, 2015

Time: 01:00PM Eastern Daylight Time

Duration: 1 hour

Cost: FREE

Register here!

Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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5. The beginnings of Firefly Hollow. A fortunate delay, a change of venue, the kindness of neighbors, and finally...taking my own advice

The fortunate delay.

It was one of those rare times in publishing where there was a lull in the constant demand of my production schedule.
I was waiting for feedback from a publisher on a final round of sketches for a picture book.
In the past, I would have begun feverishly scratching away at the waiting heap of work for the next book. But there was no heap of work. I had been turning down projects-waiting for and wanting something that I felt a particular type connection with. This could have been a bit nerve-wracking for any self employed artist.  Fortunately, I had other things that were demanding my attention.

A change of venue.

At the time, my studio space was located in a revolutionary era merchant building. While it was charming, the roof had begun to leak and late nights of driving from Providence back to our little bay-side town were getting tiresome. Given my usual level of exhaustion, it was actually getting dangerous.
It was time to go.

The kindness of neighbors. 

Anika (see posts relating to Anika Denise) and I decided that it was time to to renovate our dilapidated garage.
But that process would take several months to complete so where was I to work?

This is the magical part, the part where the greatest gifts come out of the ether unannounced and without fanfare.

I asked for help.

I asked my friend and next door neighbor Doc Pete (he is really a doctor) to help me move some of the larger items out of the way so I could begin evaluating the task of rebuilding the garage.
Two minutes later I was looking at my new temporary studio, Pete's shed.
Doc Pete's shed was an eight foot by ten foot structure. It had a door, two windows, and electricity. Rent free. We cleared it out, opened the windows, and I could hear and smell the waves on the bay.
I was in heaven.

Taking my own advice...finally.

I taught at Rhode Island School of design for a few years.
Part of the job was handing out lots of unsolicited advice.
One of my favorite tidbits for aspiring illustrators was to use any "down time" they might have to create personal projects.
I had given that advice enough and now it was time to follow it. I quickly realized that this was quite a bit harder than I imagined.

But I had been given the gift of time, the gift of change, and a quiet place to accept those gifts.

I began to sketch and wrote this above my drawing.."Cricket and Vole"
This is what they looked like.

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6. Win A Doodle! Hooray!

Sue Morris @ KidLitReviews:

Another chance to win an authentic Mike Allegra doodle. Your cost? One vacation story, preferably a worst vacation story. Check it out!

Originally posted on heylookawriterfellow:


Here’s your chance to win an official Mike Allegra custom made doodle!

But first, a word from Giddy Happy Mike:

This is the cover of the July 2015 issue of Highlights for Children.

Highlights coverIsn’t it great? I especially like this part:

Highlights cover detailThat’s my story!

“Harold’s Hat,” is in the latest issue of Highlights (which is awesome)! And the editors decided to promote it on the magazine’s cover (which is awesomer)!

The issue arrived in my mailbox on Saturday. My son took one look at it, turned to me and said, “You are so cool.”

Best Fathers’ Day Present Ever.

The entire magazine is fantastic, by the way (Highlights is always fantastic). So be sure to pick up a copy for the little ones in your life. OK?

Thank you for indulging me. Now where was I? Oh, yes…


View original 448 more words

Filed under: Children's Books

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7. Guest Post and Opportunity to Support a Global Cutting Edge Kidlit Project – TTT & T

I have known Sarah Towle since my early days of writing. Back before I moved from Nice to New York and she moved from Paris to London. One day we may actually end up living in the same city! We … Continue reading

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8. The Perfect Picture Book for the Last Day of School

The Perfect Picture Book for the Last (2)Your last day with this class is here. You have one last time to share the moment when you gather for a read aloud. How will you honor the moment?

The last day of school is hectic, a blur, a blast, sweet, and wistful.


Will you pick a book you already read this year with your students to live again in that moment? Or will you pick a book to launch your students toward their summers and the rest of their education journey?


Will your last read aloud be nostalgic or hopeful? 

We’ve gathered some of our favorite Lee & Low titles to conclude and celebrate a year’s worth of reading with your students. Let us know what you recommend (any book!) and your reading tradition on the last day of school!


Amazing Faces

An anthology of universal poems focusing on the human experience–emotions, perceptions, and understandings–as expressed by poets of diverse heritage and reflected in illustrations featuring people of all ages and backgrounds.

Confetti: Poems for Children

The renowned poet Pat Mora celebrates the culture and landscape of the southwest through the eyes of a Mexican American girl. 

I and I Bob Marley

A biography in verse of reggae legend Bob Marley, exploring the influences that shaped his life and music on his journey from rural Jamaican childhood to international superstardom. 


My Steps

An African American girl shares her private world of playtime on her front steps over each of the four seasons. 

Quinito’s Neighborhood/El Vecindario de Quinito

This bilingual book takes readers around the buildings, streets, shops, and people that make up Quinito’s neighborhood. 

Silent Star: The Story of Deaf Major Leaguer William Hoy

A biography of William “Dummy” Hoy, one of the first deaf major league baseball players. 

Sixteen Years in Sixteen Seconds: The Sammy Lee Story

The inspirational true story of Sammy Lee, a Korean American who overcame discrimination to realize both his father’s desire that he become a doctor and his own dream of becoming an Olympic champion diver. 

Strong to the Hoop

A boy finally gets to play basketball on the main court with the older boys, and has to prove he can hold his own. 

Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon

Ruth Forman offers a poetic testament to childhood, language, and play, bringing to life the streets of South Philadelphia. Young Cornrows Callin Out the Moon is a celebration of city summer memories, and of African American culture and community.

Drummer Boy of John John

A joyous picture book set in the Caribbean  during Carnival, based on the childhood of one of the inventors of the steel drum. 

The Power of Learning and Education

Armando and the Blue Tarp School

The story of a young Mexican boy living in a colonia (trash dump community) who takes the first steps toward realizing his dream of getting an education. 

Chess Rumble

A story in free verse about a troubled boy who learns to use his mind instead of his fists through the guidance of an unconventional mentor and the game of chess. 

How We Are Smart

Readers will learn that being smart is about more than doing well in school. There are eight ways to be smart, and they are reflected in how a person uses his or her body, relates to the natural world, responds to music and art, and more.

Love to Langston

This inspiring biography on Langston Hughes celebrates his life through poetry. 

Seeds of Change: Planting a Path to Peace

A picture book biography of scientist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman–and first environmentalist–to win a Nobel Peace Prize (in 2004) for her work planting trees in her native Kenya.

Yasmin’s Hammer

A young Bangladeshi girl who helps support her family by working in a brickyard finds a way to make her dream of going to school and learning to read a reality. 


George Crum and the Saratoga Chip

An account of the life and career of George Crum, a biracial chef who is credited with the invention of the potato chip at a Saratoga Springs, New York, restaurant in 1853. Based on historical records. 

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji

Overflowing with family, food, and a tall stack of fun, this story is sure to warm the heart and tickle the tummy. A fun way for children to learn about the cultural traditions and foods of India. 

Jazz Baby

A celebration of music and movement, this story in verse is inspired by the riffs, rhythms, and freedom of jazz.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina

A mestiza Peruvian American of European, Jewish, and Amerindian heritage, renowned author Monica Brown wrote this lively story to bring her own experience of being mismatched to life.

Sunday Shopping

Every Sunday night a young girl and her grandmother go on an imaginary shopping trip in this delightful picture book.

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen

A spunky African American girl has a hula-hooping competition with her friends in Harlem, and soon everyone in the neighborhood–young and old alike–joins in on the fun.

Where On Earth is My Bagel?

A young Korean boy gets a craving for a New York bagel and goes on a journey to fulfill his hunger. 

Believe in Yourself

Allie’s Basketball Dream

Basketball is Allie’s favorite sport–she’s loved it ever since her father took her to her first game at Madison Square Garden. 

Call Me Tree/Llámame Árbol

An imaginary  tale of self-discovery told by a child who grows, learns about the natural world, embraces others, and is free to become who he or she is meant to be–a child as unique as a tree. Gender neutral.  

Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream

The spirited story of Marcenia Lyle, the African American girl who grew up to become “Toni Stone,” the first woman to play for an all-male professional baseball team.

Cora Cooks Pancit

Cora and Mama work together to cook up pancit for the family in this celebration of Filipino heritage and foods. 

Crazy Horse’s Vision

The true story of the great Sioux warrior who, as a young boy, defies tradition and seeks a vision on his own in hopes of saving his people. 

Poems to Dream Together/Poemas para soñar juntos

A bilingual collection of poetry by acclaimed Chicano poet Francisco X. Alarcon celebrating family, community, nature, and the positive power of dreams to shape our future.

The Happiest Tree: A Yoga Story

Meena, a young Asian Indian American girl, grows in self-confidence when she learns to practice yoga and apply the underlying principles to her performance in the school play.

Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree

The true story of the famous writer, who as a young girl, learned about hope and strength from her mother.

Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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9. #710 – The Korean War: an Interactive Modern History Adventure


The Korean War: An Interactive Modern History Adventure

Series: You Choose Books
Written by Michael Burgan
Consultant: Raymond L. Puffer, PhD
Capstone Press      8/01/2014
112 pages      Age 8—12

“It’s 1950 and the Communist country of North Korea has invaded its neighboring country of South Korea. The United Nations has stepped in to help South Korea by providing weapons and soldiers. Nearly all of these soldiers come from the United States. Will you:

1. Serve as a pilot in Korea with the U.S. Marine Corps?
2. Lie about your age to enlist as a 16-year-old member of the U.S. military reserves?
3. Join in the fight for your country as a young South Korean man?

Everything in this book happened to real people. And YOU CHOOSE what you do next. The choices you make could lead you to survival or to death.” [back cover]

It is June 25th, 1950. Communist leader Kim I1 Sung controlled northern Korea. He wanted the entire country under his rule. Sung crosses the 38th parallel—dividing north from south—to lead a surprise attack on South Korea with China and the Soviet Union’s help. The United Nations agreed to support the south, sending troops from the United States and 15 other nations—but mostly soldiers came from the U.S. You join the fighting, but how? Are you a Marine pilot, a U.S. reservist, or a South Korean civilian? Choose wisely, as your fate depends upon it.

38th parralel korea

Did you choose the pilot?
Your first major decision is an extremely important decision: do you fly the F4U Corsair fighter plane you know how to pilot, or do you learn how to fly the more dangerous military helicopter? If you choose helicopters, your commander, Colonel Morris (not made up), gives you a choice between a copter requiring sand bags to keep it balanced, or one that can experience engine problems and cannot fly as far as the other copter. How brave are you?

Did you choose to trick the U.S. and join up at age 16?
The first year of reservist training is fairly easy and you are looking forward to the next year when the Korean War begins. You are now a full-time Marines, but without the full Marine training. A sergeant gives you a choice: do you get more training or do you think you are ready to fight? Think about this, as the decision could mean you never return home . . . alive.

Did you choose to be a South Korean civilian, ready to fight for your homeland?
You decide to volunteer, a rather rare event as most South Korean soldiers are merely grabbed off the street. You train with the Americans and then partner up when sent to the line. At one point you are captured by the Chinese, lectured on communism and its value for the entire Korean peninsula, and then told you will fight with the Chinese, not against them. Do you join or do you refuse?

Korean War2A good way to get a feel for the fighting and the awful choices—none great—soldiers were forced to make is by reading The Korean War: An Interactive Modern History Adventure. This book is not a textbook-type read in that major facts are given for rote memory. Kids will find this more interesting than mere facts making The Korean War: An Interactive . . . a good adjunct text for teachers. While helping readers understand ground forces and air support decisions and the possible outcomes, the book also includes emotional responses to the fighting and choices of war. Kids will get the usual firing of bazookas, machine guns, and rifles; and the throwing of grenades, the dropping of bombs, and worst of all, napalm, yet the most important are the soldiers feelings and how those feelings affected their choices in these real stories.

Kids will learn the difference between an armistice versus a peace treaty, including North Korea’s instance that the war is not over, though fighting stopped 62 years ago. Up against unbelievable odds, South Korea has kept control of their country. The Korean War may not be the first war kids think of, but it should be in their brain’s history department. I really like these interactive books. I hated history, but these books make history come alive which heightens my interest. I had thought a peace treaty had been made. I also had not realized how influential the Chinese were to the North Korean campaign.

Korean War3

If an old gal of . . . well it’s impolite to ask . . . can enjoy these You Choose Books, kids certainly will enjoy them. And if I can learn a thing or two, so will kids. While not a fun subject, The Korean War: An Interactive Modern History Adventure held my interest, got me thinking, and has me wanting to know more about the Korean War. The same will happen to kids who read this inventive, yet real life, account of the Korean War.

The author included a time-line of the war, a “Read More” section, a glossary, bibliography, and an index.

THE KOREAN WAR: AN INTERACTIVE MODERN HISTORY ADVENTURE. Text copyright © 2015 by Michael Burgan. Reproduced by permission of Capstone Press, an imprint of Capstone, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase The Korean War: An Interactive . . . at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesCapstone.

Learn more about The Korean War: An Interactive . . . HERE.
Meet the author, Michael Burgan, at his Capstone bio:  http://www.capstonepub.com/consumer/authors/burgan-michael/
Find more You Choose Books at the Capstone Press website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

You Choose Books
World War II Pilots  (reviewed HERE)
The Vietnam War
War in Afghanistan
The Berlin Wall
Hurricane Katrina
The Making of a Social Network

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

Review section word count = 699

Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, You Choose Series Tagged: armisitance, Capstone Press, interactive reading, Michael Burgan, military, Raymond L. Puffer PhD, The Korean War: an Interactive Modern History Adventure, US Marines, War, war planes and helicopters, You Choose Books

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Daddy Is My Hero

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads!

'Daddy Is My Hero' Written by Dawn Richards - Published by Random House 2013.

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11. #709 – Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage by Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie Dupont And The Science Fair Sabotage
Written by Julie Anne Grasso
Illustrated by Alexander Avellino
Published by J. A. Grasso       5/11/2015
230 pages    Age 8—12

“Frankie Dupont is less than impressed when he has to attend the Sustainable Science Fair with Kat and Amy. Upon his arrival, he learns that Amy’s brothers have had their robotics chip stolen Keen to recover the chip, Frankie questions the kids in the competition, but everyone seems to have a motive. When baffling clues start rolling in via “Snap-Goss” instant messages, Frankie realizes it will take all of his detective muscles to solve this case.” [back cover]

Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage is the third book in the Frankie Dupont series. This time around, mom and dad are going away for the weekend, leaving Frankie in charge of the detective agency. When he is called to the Sustainable Science Fair, he finds Angus and Archie in angst over their robotic chip, stolen sometime after arriving at the fair. Frankie swoops into action. He finds the twins entry into the fair, or rather just the twins, causes equal angst among the other student entries. Angus and Archie have pranked each of the contestants and none of them are friendly toward the boys. Each contestant has a reason to sabotage the twin’s entry, though none will admit they stole the chip. Frankie becomes more confused the longer he tries to figure out the culprit. If each kid had a reason to take the robotic chip, how does he decide which is the guilty party?

Illustration2SFS correction 4 May 2015

The mystery is not terribly complicated, still Grasso, whose writing improves with each new story, does a great job keeping the reader with Frankie. Kids will not figure out the culprit much sooner than Frankie will. After three outings, the characters remain fresh. Frankie has lost the arrogance he had during the Lemon Festival Fiasco, yet he is still clueless regarding Amy’s admiration. Frankie’s best friend and cousin Kat, who has been his sidekick through the first two stories, is less involved in the mystery of the stolen chip. Frankie’s main motivation comes from Inspector Cluesome, whom Frankie is determined to outwit.

Kids will enjoy the Science Fair Sabotage. The science fair projects are interesting. One has a house built out of stevia-made sugar cubes and another using scrap aluminum to build a working guitar. The ideas of conservation and recycling are clear in the science fair entries, though I would have liked to have read more about why this fair came about, which could have lead to an indepth conversation about these important issues.


The Science Fair Sabotage will entertain readers. The short chapters, divided by student entry, will keep reluctant readers interested. The end works out fine, with Frankie finding the culprit, the science fair going on as planned, and a winner announced. The culprit is not who readers will expect, so keep you eyes peeled to the clues. The Science Fair Sabotage is a fine addition to the Frankie Dupont series.

Next up for Frankie, Kat, and Amy (seems they might have become a team), is a luxury cruise in Frankie Dupont and the High Seas Adventure, scheduled to release in September 2015.

Awards for the Frankie Dupont Series
2014 Wishing Shelf Independent Book SILVER for Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor. (book #1)

FRANKIE DUPONT AND THE SUSTAINEABLE SCIENCE FAIR. Text copyright © 2015 by Julie Anne Grasso. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Alexander Avellino. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Julie Anne Grasso, Australia.

Buy The Sustainable Science Fair at AmazonBook DepositoryAuthor’s Store.

Learn more about The Sustainable Science Fair HERE.
Free Activity Booklet is HERE.
Meat the author, Julie Anne Grasso at her website:  http://whenigrowupiwannawriteakidsbook.blogspot.com.au/
Meet the illustrator, Alexander Avellino, at his website:  http://www.alexanderavellino.com/

Also by Julie Anne Grasso
Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor (review)
Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco (review)
Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #1: Escape from the Forbidden Planet
Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #2: Return to Cardamom (review)
Adventures of Caramel Cardamom #3: Stellarcadia
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Review section word count = 433
Full Disclosure: Frankie Dupont and the Sustainable Science Fair by Julie Anne Grasso & Alexander Avellino, and received from the publisher, Julie Anne Grasso, 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 Testimonies in Advertising.

Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Alexander Avellino, conservation, ecology, Frankie Dupont, Frankie Dupont and the Science Fair Sabotage, Julie Anne Grasso, mystery, recycling sustainability, science fairs

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12. Papa's Suns Coming Soon!

I'm thrilled to announce that my latest picture book, Papa's Suns is scheduled to be released shortly.  Below is the official blurb for this book which should be coming out at the end of the month.

Jacob and his grandfather like to spend time drawing pictures together. But after
Papa has a stroke, Jacob is afraid that his Papa will be different. Although Papa’s
body is healing, Jacob discovers that the love between him and his grandfather will
never change.

This book is close to my heart because it based on the relationship between my father-in-law and my daughter. Here is a sneak peek at the cover.  The illustrations are beautifully done by Samantha Bell.

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13. Queen Victoria’s Children’s Book Finally Published

Victoria, Britain’s queen during the better part of the 19th century, wrote a children’s book when she was 10 years old.

That book, The Adventures of Alice Laselles, is now finally getting published. The book is about a 12-year-old girl away at boarding school. The Royal Collection released the title last week. Here is more about the book:

The young royal author tells the tale of Alice, a twelve-year-old girl who is sent away to boarding school after her father remarries.  It reveals Princess Victoria’s natural flair for writing, and tendency towards the dramatic.  When Alice learns she is to leave her home for Mrs Duncombe’s school, Victoria writes, ‘Oh do not send me away dear Pappa’, exclaimed Alice Laselles, as she threw her arms around her Pappa’s neck; ‘don’t send me away, O let me stay with you.’ And she sobbed bitterly.  She introduces a host of characters living at the school, including a ‘poor little French orphan'; Ernestine Duval, and Barbara, the clever daughter of a rich London banker.

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14. 2015 Martha Weston Grant Winner Announced

Lindsey Carmichael from Lewis Lake, Nova Scotia, is the recipient of the 2015 Martha Weston Grant. She  received $1,500 to cover her expenses to attend the annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles. 
Grant coordinator Lissa Rovetch noted the judges, consisting of herself, Ashley Wolff, Julie Downing, Susan McCombs and Dory Weston, received many outstanding applications all of which reflected Martha Weston’s generous spirit.
After publishing more than 50 picture books and easy readers as an illustrator and/or author, Martha (Hairston) Weston published her first middle grade novel shortly before her death. Martha always took time to encourage others, and the Hairston family established the Martha Weston Grant to honor and continue her efforts. The SCBWI wishes to thank the Hairston family for making the grant possible, to the judges for volunteering their time, and to Lissa Rovetch who served again this year as Grant Coordinator. Applications will again be accepted in early spring. Rules and procedures can be found under the Awards and Grants section of the website. If you are interested in applying for this very special grant, please mark your calendars for early next year when the application process opens.


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15. The Dungeoneers Blog Tour


I'm so sorry this is late, dear readers! It's been a day. Part good, part bad, mostly late. Anywho.

Walden Pond Press is giving away a signed hardcover copy of The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson! Read on for more info about the book and author, as well as a Q&A!

About the Book

THE DUNGEONEERS by John David Anderson (June 23, 2015 from Walden Pond Press) 

THE DUNGEONEERS by John David Anderson (June 23, 2015 from Walden Pond Press) 

The Dungeoneers is an action-packed, funny, and heartbreaking middle grade fantasy-adventure from the author of the acclaimed Sidekicked and Minion, John David Anderson.

The world is not a fair place, and Colm Candorly knows it. While his parents and eight sisters seem content living on a lowly cobbler's earnings, Colm can't help but feel that everyone has the right to a more comfortable life. It's just a question of how far you're willing to go to get it.
In an effort to help make ends meet, Colm uses his natural gift for pickpocketing to pilfer a pile of gold from the richer residents of town, but his actions place him at the mercy of a mysterious man named Finn Argos, a gilded-toothed, smooth-tongued rogue who gives Colm a choice: he can be punished for his thievery, or he can become a member of Thwodin's Legions, a guild of dungeoneers who take what they want and live as they will. Colm soon finds himself part of a family of warriors, mages, and hunters, learning to work together in a quest to survive and, perhaps, to find a bit of treasure along the way.

Q&A with John David Anderson

Read Now Sleep Later: Tell us what inspired The Dungeoneers. Was it something from real life or something from fantasy that finally sparked the premise so you could turn it into a novel?

John David Anderson: I’m a fly-by-seat of your pants kind of writer. I don’t outline. I seldom have a plan. I’m lucky if I have a general sense of direction. I go where the story takes me, and The Dungeoneers was literally a “I wonder what happens next?” kind of experience for me. Every day I would sit down to write with wide eyes, eagerly anticipating Colm and party’s next adventure. So the novel started for me just the way it starts for everyone—with Colm complaining about his sisters, one of whom gets sick. I knew he was going to try his hand at pickpocketing. I knew he was going to be good at it. That’s pretty much all I had. The rest, I think, was a great, big blended mess of fantasy tropes from books and films and games (both video and board) dating all the way back to my childhood, cobbled together the deeper and deeper I got.

I will say, though, that my parents often struggled to make ends meet when I was young, and I grew up with a sense of both the powers and dangers of money and the vast disparity between the have-mosts and have-a-littles. I think that sense of class disparity—and the notion that men of talent can find their own path to riches—informed upon the novel from day one. That and the significance of friendships and the price of loyalty were probably the chief motivating themes that drove me forward.

Mostly, though, I had fun with it. I had more fun writing The Dungeoneers than any other book I’ve written. It was basically just one giant roleplaying game for me.

RNSL: If there would be no consequences for you, what would you steal (for the greater good, anyway)? Are you good at sleight-of-hand? (Alethea for example would probably steal kittens. She is pretty sure Thuy and Kimberly would steal all the yarn and books--then distribute them to those in need.)

JDA: If it was for the greater good, I’d probably say I’d go all Jean Valjean and steal food for those in need. There are a lot of problems out there in the world that need solving, but hunger really seems like one that we—as intelligent as we are as a species—could have figured out a solution to. According to some estimates, as many as one out of every nine people suffers from hunger or malnutrition. I know it’s a Robin Hood kind of answer, but if you’re going to be an outlaw…

On a lighter note, if it was me, and there were no consequences or downsides, I would steal Lego. Lego, for me, is the epitome of extraneous expense. I love them. I love the feel of them, the sound of their clicking, the mathematical genius of their construction, but I can’t (usually) justify forking over forty bucks for 300 little pieces of snap-together plastic that’s just going to sit on my shelf. If could just steal them, then I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about spending money on them, though I would feel guilty for stealing them. I guess there’s no Lego without guilt. 

I would say books, but I’m a writer. If I want a book, I go out and buy it anyways.

In paperback. 

RNSL: Did anything specific inspire your cast of characters for The Dungeoneers?

Not really. I’d say my motivating principal was contrast. Obviously I needed a balanced party in terms of talents and professions, but also in terms of foibles and concerns. I wanted them all to be dungeoneering for different reasons, to each have something specific they were questing for, whether it was Serene overcoming her fears, Lena living up to her name, or Quinn gaining control over his power. It’s not all about the gold—though that certainly has its appeal, as Colm Candorly will tell you. The characters were all very distinct for me, which made them easier to write and easier to appreciate. What started as a story just about this one kid picking pockets in the street really became an exploration of this makeshift family getting each others’ backs, growing alongside each other. It’s an ensemble piece.

RNSL: If you still play RPGs, do you always play the same type of character, or do you switch around and try to be different? (I usually try to stay with Barbarian or Paladin... hack and slash, don't get in my way!)

JDA: I play a version of Pathfinders with my family, and I like to switch up who I play, though I tend to gravitate towards multi-talented types. Swordsmen who can enchant their blades with flames. Spellcasters who also happen to be good at throwing daggers. Talking pigs who can transform themselves into fire-spewing dragons. I tend not to play healers. I don’t want people counting on me to bring them back to life all the time. Too much pressure. I also don’t play guys who wear lots of heavy armor, mostly because I feel like they’d get too sweaty.

RNSL: Would ever you consider writing up part of the premise as an RPG? Or at least make up some character sheets for Colm, Finn, etc. :)

JDA: Funny you say that. I actually have Pathfinders sheets and stats for each of the four major characters from the novel. When my family and I played I was Quinn Frostfoot. 

I do create board and card games in my spare time, and if (for some blessed reason) The Dungeoneers was ever to become a thing—you know, like big big—I’d be more than happy to branch out and adapt the story to a more playable format. I think a lot of cool things are being done with game books and interactive fiction now, especially on mobile devices. I can certainly imagine The Dungeoneers taking that form. Maybe some computer genius out there can help make it happen!

RNSL: Did you encounter anything particularly challenging while writing The Dungeoneers that's different from your previous books?

JDA: Honestly third person perspective is a challenge for me. First person narratives come easy because there’s no negotiation, no competition between my voice and that of the main character. I appreciate the limitations that first person narratives provide, so the freedom that comes with panning out to a third person viewpoint—even one focused on one character like Colm Candorly—is daunting at first. I wanted to create a narrative voice that could poke fun one moment with tongue thoroughly in cheek and then get completely serious about the world and its dangers the next. That was tough.

Also the sheer scope of the book was bigger than my previous novels. More characters, more subplots—and so much I wanted to cram in, explore, and make fun of. I’m just grateful my editor let me keep most of it. It’s a hefty book. But fantasy novels aren’t always known for their thinness. 

RNSL: We love the cover. Did you have any input on the final art? Any thoughts you would like to share about it? (It makes us want to grab our dice bags and go on an adventure.)

JDA: Awesome, right? The cover is the work of the incomparable Dan Santat and, at least from my perspective, it was pretty solid right out of the gate. I do remember two significant changes, though. The first was that Quinn was way too confident in the beginning—his facial expression suggested a Gandalf-level of competence, and I remember saying that he needed to be a lot more worried about the spell he was casting (it will make sense when you read the book). The second issue was Lena—we needed her to be hardcore barbarian but still obviously female. The solution, I think, was to just give her a different haircut and more weapons. Other than that, it’s exactly the kind of book I would have picked up as a ten year old aching for a little dungeon diving adventure. I adore the wrap around and the font, but most of all I think I like how it focuses on the team effort. After all, the book isn’t called The Dungeoneer.

Now I’m off to play with my Lego.

About the Author

John David Anderson is the author of Sidekicked and Minion. A dedicated root beer connoisseur in his spare time, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org. Tweet @anderson_author and find him on Facebook.

Blog Tour Schedule

6/2/2015 - Maria's Mélange - mariaselke.com                                 
6/5/2015 - Unleashing Readers - unleashingreaders.com                    
6/6/2015 - The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia - hauntedorchid.blogspot.com          
6/7/2015 - Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers - insatiablereaders.blogspot.com     
6/8/2015 - This Kid Reviews Books - thiskidreviewsbooks.com                  
6/8/2015 - Ms Yingling Reads - msyinglingreads.blogspot.com           
6/9/2015 - Read Now Sleep Later - readnowsleeplater.org
6/10/2015 - Charlotte's Library - charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com 
6/11/2015 - Nerdy Book Club - nerdybookclub.wordpress.com
6/12/2015 - The Hiding Spot - thehidingspot.blogspot.com     

Giveaway Time!

One intrepid adventurer will win a signed hardcover copy of The Dungeoneers by John David Anderson. US only, ends 6/25/2015.

  • Open to US only, ends 6/25/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
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16. #708 – National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 by Nat. Geo Society & Nat. Geo Kids Magazine

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016
National Geographic Society & National Geographic Kids Magazine
National Geographic Society        5/12/2015
352 pages         Age 8—12

“This New York Times bestseller is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating articles about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include a special section on animal friends; an updated “Fun and Games” chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; a new “Dino Myths Busted” feature; all new weird-but-true facts, crafts, and activities; a new special “15 Facts” feature in every chapter; updated reference material, and much more! And, this is the only kids’ almanac with mobile media features that allow kids to access National Geographic videos, photo galleries, and games.” [publisher]

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016—Wow, where do I start? Color blasts out from every page. The photography is as spectacular as National Geographic photography has always been—brilliant, intimately detailed, knock-you-off-your-feet fantabulous. Divided into ten sections, the Kids Almanac 2016 begins with a section on interesting things happening in 2016, and then it explores the usual topics of history, culture, science, geography, nature, and animals. The almanac also includes a section on green technology and its effect on Earth, and a section about exploration and survival. Most likely, a favorite for kids will be the section on games. Actually, the Kids Almanac 2016 contains a game throughout the entire 350 pages. In each chapter is a clue. Find all ten clues and you can open up digital extras.

dino mythsIn reading the Kids Almanac 2016, I think National Geographic has covered all the subjects kids will find interesting and all those they need to know about. Adults can get a lot out of this almanac as well. There is a tremendous amount of information in this relatively small book. I loved the animal topics, of which there are many. Kids interested in dinosaurs will find a prehistoric timeline, nine “Bet you didn’t know” facts, and myths. Each section ends with a quiz on that section’s subject. When you cannot get to a place, or want to know what is happening in different places around the world, the Kids Almanac 2016 is a tremendous aid. Kids can also dig a little deeper in subjects they love and learn about subjects they never thought about or thought were dull. There is not one tedious word or picture in the Kids Almanac 2016. Here are a few subjects I found to be amazing:

“Secrets of the Blue Holes”
Animal photography and how to get the shot.
“The Wonders of Nature: the Oceans”

Worlds Wackiest Houses”

“Worlds Wackiest Houses”

“16 Cool Facts about Coral Reefs”
The jokes and comics in Fun and Games
Orangutan to the Rescue (Survival Story)”

What would a National Geographic book be without its gorgeous maps? The Kids Almanac 2016 has plenty of maps and flags. I think the National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 is a must read, if not a must have, for kids, especially middle graders who will learn a lot without realizing they are learning. The Kids Almanac 2016 is fun, exciting, and interesting. The pages are colorful, the photographs and images extremely detailed, and the subject matter is diverse.

volcanosThough kids are just now beginning to enjoy their summer school breaks, the Kids Almanac 2016 will keep them reading through the summer, which will help kids during their next school year, make them more informed about their world. Parents concerned about the books their kids read will have not one worry about this almanac. Every word, every subject, and every article is kid-friendly. The National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 is an interesting read that will keep kids hooked long past summer vacation.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS ALMANAC 2016. Text and images copyright © 2015 by National Geographic Society. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, National Geographic Society in partnership with National Geographic Kids Magazine, Washington DC.

Purchase National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 at AmazonBook DepositoryNational Geographic.

Kids! Join the National Geographic Kids Book Club HERE!
Teachers and Librarians can find additional information at: http://www.ngchildrensbooks.org
National Geographic Educational site is HERE.

Learn more about National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016 HERE.
Check out the National Geographic Society website: http://www.nationalgeographic.com
Find other National Geographic books at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/books
Learn more about the National Geographic Kids Magazine at the website: http://www.kids.nationalgeographic.com

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

Review section word count = 496

nat geo kids almanac 2016

Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: and animals, culture, fun, games, geography, going green, history, liss instructive information, maps, National Geographic Kids Almanac 2016, National Geographic Kids Magazine, National Geographic Society, nature, science

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17. Behind the Book with Jennifer Keats Curtis

JenniferCurtisHave you ever wondered what sparks an idea for a book?

Author Jennifer Keats Curtis talks with us about the process of writing Primate School and how one idea lead her to a deep study in animal behavior, feelings and thinking.

When I learned that orangutans were using iPads, my first thought was, Oh good, there’s hope for my mother. Ok, I’m kidding. My real thought was that despite extraordinary study and learning, there is so much about animals that we still don’t know.

As I set off to learn about orangutans and other primates for the nonfiction Primate School, I thought about how much I PrimateSchool_187love animals and want to understand them. I thought about my own connections with animals and my personal belief that animals have feelings and emotions. I believe that they feel joy and sadness, perhaps not in the same way that we do, but that they are conscious, sentient beings and I wish I could better relate and communicate with them. I think that we have missed a lot with animals in the past for fear of anthropomorphizing them.

I joyfully learned about how primates communicate with each other through verbal cues and behavior and how they express themselves, show happiness and love, and learn from each other and keepers. I loved learning about how primates connect to each other and to humans. I was fascinated to learn about aunting behavior among langurs and saddened to learn about the gibbons who had been raised as pets and had trouble relating to other gibbons.

EN-gibbonI wrote Primate School ecstatic to use what I’d learned from cognitive ethologists. Ethologists study animals in their natural settings and cognitive ethologists get to focus on the thinking process, including communication, culture, and learning. I embrace this concept and cannot get enough of what these scientists have to say. Even though that book is complete, I never want to stop learning about what primates and other animals think and feel, how they learn from us, and how we can learn from them. That is one of the main reasons that I write about animals for children.

Award-winning nature author Jennifer Keats Curtis is frequently found among students and teachers, talking about literacy or conservation. In addition to Primate School, Salamander Season, the Animal Helpers series, Baby Owl’s Rescue, Kali’s Story, and Turtles In My Sandbox  for Arbordale, some of her other recent titles include Osprey Adventure, Saving Squeak: A River Otter’s Tale, and Seahorses. Jennifer resides in Maryland, with her family and a wide variety of pets. Visit her website at www.jenniferkeatscurtis.com

Learn more about Primate School and Jennifer’s other Arbordale books here!

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18. The Disappearance of Emily H. Blog Tour

A girl who can see the past tries to save the future in this compelling tween mystery.

Check out The Disappearance of Emily H, read a Q&A with the author, Barrie Summy, and enter to win a copy of the book! (US only, ends 6/23)

About the Book

A girl is missing. Three girls are lying. One girl can get to the truth.
Emily Huvar vanished without a trace. And the clues are right beneath Raine’s fingertips. Literally. Raine isn’t like other eighth graders. One touch of a glittering sparkle that only Raine can see, and she’s swept into a memory from the past. If she touches enough sparkles, she can piece together what happened to Emily.
When Raine realizes that the cliquey group of girls making her life miserable know more than they’re letting on about Emily’s disappearance, she has to do something. She’ll use her supernatural gift for good... to fight evil.
But is it too late to save Emily?

Q&A with Barrie Summy

Read Now Sleep Later: Emily's disappearance is so sinister--how do you balance the seriousness of this topic for the "Age 10 and up" audience?

Barrie Summy: To be honest, it was a bit of a juggling act. The Disappearance of Emily H. is a little more eerie than the i so don't do mystery series, and I was constantly questioning when to rein things in. To lighten the story, I tried to weave in everyday activities (group projects at school, walking the dog, mealtime), humor, and a little romance.

RNSL: A group of girls gangs up on Raine as she's trying to figure out what happened to Emily H. In constructing this interaction, was it informed by personal experience or observing others going through bullying? 

BS: Good question. The bullying subplot was fed mostly by my daughter and her friend, who were both in eighth grade when I was writing this book. They were trapped in the car with me, driving to and from dance lessons, and  we talked a lot (probably ad nauseam for them!) about the bullying they saw/heard about at school, what would feel like bullying to them, what wouldn't, right down to specific incidents. The girls were incredibly helpful.

RNSL: When you were the age that your readers are now, what were you into? Mysteries? Reading and/or writing? Magic? None or all of the above? 

BS: I was into reading pretty much anything I could get my hands on (although I was a huge Nancy Drew fan). I was also writing--angsty diary entries, bad poetry and, oddly, clues for scavenger hunts. My parents had us (I have two sisters) in piano and skating lessons. And there were loads of kids in our neighborhood, so there were street hockey games, tag, Red Rover, and just plain hanging around.

RNSL: What was the most challenging part of writing this novel?

BS: By far, the most challenging part was the first revision when my editor wanted me to move the event that happened at the middle of the book to the 3/4 point. Ack! Suddenly, there was a great, big gaping hole in the middle of the book. There was much pacing and gnawing of nails... and finally the bullying subplot grew into something more important. 

RNSL: Cake or pie? (or both?) 

BS: Love this question! For me, it's pie! I really don't like cake or cupcakes or anything cakey at all. For my birthday, I always ask for a dessert other than cake.

About the Author

Barrie Summy is the author of the I So Don’t Do mystery series starring thirteen-year-old detective Sherry Holmes Baldwin and the recently released The Disappearance of Emily H. Barrie lives in Southern California with her husband, their four children, two dogs, a veiled chameleon, and a fish. There was once a dwarf hamster, but let’s not go there. Visit her online at barriesummy.com.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thu, June 4 - Ms. Yingling Reads - http://msyinglingreads.blogspot.com/

Fri, June 5 - proseandkahn - http://proseandkahn.blogspot.com/

Mon, June 8 - Once Upon a Story - http://mariaburel.com/

Tue, June 9 - Read Now, Sleep Later - http://www.readnowsleeplater.org/

Wed, June 10 - Sharpread - http://mrcolbysharp.com/

Thu, June 11 - Unleashing Readers - http://www.unleashingreaders.com/

Fri, June 12 - Small Review - http://smallreview.blogspot.com/

Giveaway Time!

One sparkly winner will receive a copy of The Disappearance of Emily H. by Barrie Summy (U.S. addresses; allow 4-6 weeks for delivery).

  • Open to US only, ends 6/23/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
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19. #705 – Pool by JiHyeon Lee



By JiHyeon Lee
Chronicle Books      5/01/2015
56 pages      Age 3—5

“What happens when two shy children meet at a very crowded pool? Dive in to find out! JiHyeon Lee’s masterful story of a chance encounter takes readers on a journey that reminds us that friendship and imagination have no bounds.” [book jacket]

Pool arrives just in time for summer. Pool wordlessly tells the story of one young boy going to a public pool to find it is crowded. Actually, barely an inch exists between swimmers. He sits on the side of the pool, probably contemplating what to do. Then he dives in and goes below the legs of all those swimmers. Down into the depths of the pool, the young boy meets all sorts of curious water-living creatures. Crazy big-eyed fish, long L-shaped fish, and even a fish resembling a toucan exist down below those swimmers.

Most importantly, the young boy meets another swimmer his own age. The two explore all the life below the other swimmers. Schools of bluefish swarm the young boy, who looks uncertain. The brave outlook of the young girl must give him confidence, as they fearlessly swim among fish with many sharp teeth and come eye-to-eye with a huge whale. As the two swim up for air, the fish follow causing a riotous exit from the water by the other swimmers.


I love Pool. Pool exemplifies the power of the imagination and the pull of kindred spirits into friendship. Pool shows the boy’s problem-solving skills as he decides to go below the swimming feet where there would be room to actually swim. Those above him crowd the water too tightly to even move, let alone swim. Below the surface, this resourceful boy meets another young swimmer and the two find ways to enjoy the water and themselves. Are those fish real? It’s anyone’s guess whether those crazy-looking fish are real or the figment of the young swimmers’ imaginations. Last out of the pool is an inner tube wearing young swimmer, who looks back upon the now quiet and still water. If you saw what this youngster saw, you just might believe.

Pool is perfect for any summer day, rain or shine. Lee used oil pastels and colored pencils to create the beautifully crafted spreads. As the young boy swims below the crowded surface, his trunks turn from a dull grey to a dark blue. The further he descends, the brighter the spreads. I think the message is that one must go beyond the ordinary, innertube crowd to see the wonders of the world and, when finding friendship, enjoy the time together in those wonders you share. Staying on the surface, with the crowd, is safe but often lonely. Pool is Lee’s first picture book. I hope she continues to publish. Her work is collector worthy.

Next time you go swimming, try going down to the depths of your imagination. You just might meet your kindred spirit.


POOL. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by JiHyeon Lee. Copright © 2015 by Chronicle Books. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Pool at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

Learn more about Pool HERE.
Collect Wallpapers no.1 and no.2
Meet the artist, JiHyeon Lee at her pinterest:  https://www.pinterest.com/kooshles/ji-hyeon-lee-south-korean-illustrator/
Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Originally published in South Korea in 2013 by Iyagikot Publishing.

top book of 2015 general


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

Review section word count = 353



Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: Chronicle Books, collector-worthy picture books, imaginative, JiHyeon Lee, Korean born children’s authors and illustrators, Pool, splendid, summer, swimming

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20. World Oceans Day

SB page 1

June 8th is World Ocean’s Day and a day to celebrate the vast bodies of water and their inhabitants. Museums, aquariums and zoos will hold celebrations this weekend across the country. If you are lucky enough to live on the coast, a trip to the beach is a great way to celebrate this year’s theme “Healthy oceans, healthy planet”.

Of course Arbordale has many books that celebrate the ocean and many online activities that can be done right at home. So today on the blog we have a few fun ways to honor the ocean without leaving the comforts of your own home.

Draw your own Marine Mammal
from Waterbed:s Sleeping in the Ocean


Toothy Sharks
read:  Shark Baby


Find more fun activities on the Marine Life Pinterest Board, or learn more about World Oceans Day!

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21. #706 – Beach House by Deanna Caswell and Amy June Bates

am cover
Beach House
Written by Deanna Caswell
Illustrated by Amy June Bates
Chronicle Books       5/12/2015
32 pages      Age 4—8


“A long, long drive.
It’s been a year
of dreaming, waiting.
Summer’s here.
“In a funny and moving celebration of family, vacations, and the joy of the sea, Deanna Caswell and Amy June Bates capture the essence of summer—sand castles, tide pools, starry evenings—and the love that warms every moment.” [book jacket]

Well, if you are not fond of overcrowded pools or swimming deep within them to find fantasy and fish of questionable species (review of Pool here), then maybe traveling to the ocean, staying in a summer home, and breathing in the salt air is more to your liking. If so, then Beach House is the perfect picture book to kick off your summer.

After a long drive—“Are we there yet?—the family arrives at the beach house for their summer vacation. The sea beckons, but the car needs unloaded, and the suitcases unpacked.

“Doors fly open.
End of the road.

“To the beach!”
“Not yet—unload.”

Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Amy June Bates. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

So many bags, so much stuff. Amazing one family needs this much for a vacation from daily life. Fun waits as the clothes are hung and shoes arranged. The youngest son and his faithful pal look hopefully out the window at the beach and the water. Then the magic words that get everyone moving. Suits are on, and dad is loaded down with every imaginable beach toy and towels. The family hits the beach. The two kids gleefully run into the water with the puppy right behind them. The toddler plays in the sand, making castles and other sand-filled joys. After a full day of sun, sand, and water, the family cuddles up to a roaring fire for dinner and then the comfort of baths and soft beds. Tomorrow will be another day on the beach. The text, written in rhyme, easily flows off the tongue, fluently rhyming for readers and listeners alike.

bates - dad loaded down

I love the illustrations which overflow with intimate detail. The younger boy, pulling his wagon full of sand toys, has the glimpses of a diaper popping out of the top of his swim trunks. He is obviously a toddler. Another favorite scene has the two older kids—a boy and a girl—in the water playing. Dad is tossing the girl up and into the water. The boy has his hands cupped around his mouth, yelling at mom, who is on the beach with the toddler. I can hear him saying, “Hey, Mom! Mom! Look at me!”

The watercolor and pencil illustrations exude summer on a soft, white, sandy beach that keeps the ocean where it belongs, allowing just a wave or two onto its shore. I am reminded of summer vacations with my family. Five of us crammed into a small cottage, swimming all day, eating ice cream bars on the stoop, and watching my older sister wash the paper plates—a joke I was too young to understand, or even remember without photographic evidence. Beach House brings out memories, or maybe, it will give you pause—a small suggestion—to plan that family getaway.

running into water full spread large

BEACH HOUSE. Text copyright © 2015 by Deanna Caswell. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Amy June Bates. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Beach House at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesChronicle Books.

Learn more about Beach House HERE.
Meet the author, Deanna Caswell, at her website:  http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/
Meet the illustrator, Amy June Bates, at her website:  http://amyjunebates.blogspot.com/
Find more picture books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 453

beach house

Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Amy June Bates, Beach House, Chronicle Books, Deanna Caswell, family time, ocean cottages, relationships, sand castles, summer vacations, swimming

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22. Cast Off Blog Tour

Read on for an interview with CAST OFF author Eve Yohalem, and a giveaway (US only, ends 6/20/2015).

About the Book

A tale of pirates, mutiny, and friendship on the high seas, perfect for fans of The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

It’s 1663 and there is an extra passenger on board a Dutch merchant ship setting sail for the East Indies. Twelve-year-old Petra has stowed away to escape her abusive father. But she quickly realizes that surviving for months at sea will be impossible without help. So when Bram, the half-Dutch/Half-Javanese son of the ship’s carpenter, finds her hiding spot, Petra convinces him to help her stay hidden... and help disguise her as a boy. 

If Petra is discovered and exposed as a girl, she could be tossed overboard, or worse... returned to her father. And if Bram is exposed for helping her, he could lose the only home—and family—he has. As tensions rise on the ship, with pirates attacking, deadly illness, and even mutiny, Petra and Bram face impossible decisions that test their friendship and threaten their dreams of freedom.

Told in alternating voices and filled with secrets and intrigue, this richly researched novel is historical fiction at its best.

About the Author

Eve Yohalem's first book was Escape Under the Forever Sky, which Booklist called “riveting.” She lives with her family in New York City. To learn more, and download a free curriculum guide for Cast Off, visit her website: eveyohalem.com and on Facebook.


Q&A with Eve Yohalem

Read Now Sleep Later: Cast Off is told from two points of view. How did you keep your characters organized? Are there parts of the story you would try to tell from one POV then realize it was better told from the other POV? 

Eve Yohalem: When I first started writing Cast Off, it was in the third person and only in Petra’s point of view. About fifty pages in, I realized Bram needed to be heard. And after maybe the third draft I decided the story would be much more exciting and immediate if it was told in their own voices. Sometimes the choice of POV was obvious—for example, if the scene only involved one of the characters. But sometimes I wrote it both ways and then picked the one that was better. In case you can’t tell, writing Cast Off involved a lot of re-writing!

RNSL: Your main characters are different genders and come from different cultures. Do you think one was easier to write than the other based on the common traits between you and the character?

EY: The challenge for me wasn’t cultural or gender differences, it was—and is—the character’s emotional state during a given scene. Scenes where my main characters are miserable are painful to write. I have to fight the urge to be protective of my characters, because books where everybody is happy all the time are really boring.

RNSL: When you were the age that your book's audience is now, were you a reader/writer/both? 

EY: I read nonstop as a kid. At one point my mother consulted a doctor to find out if it was normal to read so much. Thankfully, he told her not to worry about it.

RNSL: Your characters have some pretty deep emotional struggles in this novel. Are they built from experience, study, a bit of both? Why did you decide to write about these struggles for this age group? 

EY: Both Petra and Bram are outsiders. Petra is a lone girl on a ship of 300 men. Bram is the mixed-race, illegitimate son of the ship’s carpenter so he’s stateless and nameless. In addition to storms, fevers, and mutiny, they battle loneliness, fear, and persecution in their search to find their place in the world. I’m really not trying to be flip when I say this, but isn’t that a perfect metaphor for middle school?

RNSL: If you're working on a future project, can you tell us a little bit about it?

EY: Sure! I just finished writing a new book called True Fact about a twelve-year-old girl with diabetes who spends the summer searching for sunken treasure with her German shepherd and the obnoxious daughter of a famous Hollywood director. I’m also one draft into a sequel to Cast Off.

RNSL: If there is a book out there that you wish you'd written? What is it, and why do you wish you'd written it? (I'll tell you mine--The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, because it made me feel so much and was so lyrical and beautiful in prose!)

EY: I loved The Time Traveler’s Wife! I really really wish I’d written the George and Martha books. What a friendship!

RNSL: Cake or pie? (or both?) 

EY: Pie. Specifically blueberry, key lime, banana cream, peach, or cherry. But, really, almost any pie will do. 

Blog Tour Schedule

Mon, June 1 - Book Monsters - http://thebookmonsters.com/

Tues, June 2 - The Hiding Spot - http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com/

Wed, June 3 - Books Unbound - http://booksunboundblog.com/

Thurs, June 4 - Unleashing Readers - http://www.unleashingreaders.com/

Fri, June 5 - Read Now, Sleep Later - http://www.readnowsleeplater.org/

Mon, June 8 - Mother Daughter Book Club - http://motherdaughterbookclub.com/

Tues, June 9 - Cracking the Cover - http://www.crackingthecover.com/

Wed, June 10 - The Compulsive Reader - http://www.thecompulsivereader.com/

Thurs, June 11 - The Children's Book Review - http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/

Fri, June 12 - I Read Banned Books - http://www.jenbigheart.com/

Giveaway Time!

Win a copy of Cast Off--just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. US only, ends 6/20/2015.

  • Open to US only, ends 6/20/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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23. #707 – Oddfrey Joins the Team by Dave Whamond

oddfrey joins team cover HERE

Oddrey Joins the Team
Written & Illustrated by Dave Whamond
Owlkids Books 8/15/2014
32 pages Age 4—8

“When Oddfrey decides to join her school’s soccer team, she brings a new and unexpected approach to teamwork! On the day of the big game against the Quagville Crushers, nothing is going right—until Oddfrey comes up with a slightly unusual idea. Never afraid to be herself, Oddfrey devises a plan that gives her teammates the strength to be themselves, too. When they all use their individual talents to work together as a team, the results are extremely satisfying—and highly exuberant!” [book jacket]

Oddfrey Joins the Team is the third Oddfrey book (Oddfrey, Oddfrey and the New Kid). According to the publisher, Oddfrey “marches to the beat of her own drum.” With a daisy sprouting from the top of her head, Oddfrey certainly looks odd. I like Oddfrey for a few reasons. First, she likes sports, although her idea of “sports” is sometimes odd. Oddfrey prefers to combine different sport to make a new game. For example, she kicks a basketball into the hoop, rather than shooting it, and bounces a football off her personal sized trampoline, rather than throw the ball to her helmeted dog. Oddfrey’s dog—spotted with big, beautiful, and excited eyes—sticks by her side, always ready to join in her fun. Which brings me to the second and third reasons I like Oddfrey: she does her own thing and she has a pooch for a pal.


I also like Oddfrey because she thinks outside of the soccer sidelines. I only know the basics of soccer: run back and forth after a ball and kick the ball into opponent’s net, which happens less often than one would think. Maybelline—new kid from book 2—asks Oddfrey to join the school’s soccer team—the Picadilla Bees. Maybelline is the star of the team, mainly because she hogs the ball, leaving the other kids to run back and forth. Oddfrey approaches soccer as she does other sports: in her own way. The players are confused and the coach is dismayed, as Oddfrey combines soccer with ballet. Between sending her shoe flying on an attempted kick, balancing on top of the ball, and cart wheeling down the field, Oddfrey does score a goal—GOOOAL!!!—by butt-bumping the ball into the net. Yes, Oddfrey is her own little gal.


The next game is the BIG GAME against the Quagville Crushers. The Bees practice hard. Milton karate-chops the ball down the field (Maybelline: “Just kick it!”). Earl head-bumps the ball (Maybelline: “Use your head, Earl!”). Maybelline gives everyone advice—where is the coach?—even to her friend Oddfrey. Following rules is not in Oddfrey’s skill-set. Poor Maybelline-the-Star, she cannot get it together in the BIG GAME. The Bees are falling fast to the Crushers. Oddfrey puts on her thinking cap and realizes the team name “Bees” must mean something—and it does. Oddfrey uses this to get her team buzzing. What is “Plan Bee,” you ask. Well, you know I can’t say, but read Oddfrey’s new story, Oddfrey Joins the Team, to find out. You’ll do a lot of laughing as you find the answer and read—and see—the exciting conclusion.


The illustrations are action-packed, with details running from spread-to-spread. But you don’t need to like soccer to enjoy Oddfrey Joins the Team. Oddfrey’s pals are interesting in their own right, and the story has less to do with soccer and more to do with ingenuity, friendship, teamwork, and . . . well, if I said the last feature, you might figure out the ending. Both girls and boys will enjoy Oddfrey and her stories. Older kids will also find much to love and enjoy about Oddfrey. Humor runs in both the illustrations and the text, making Oddfrey Joins the Team fast-paced, deliciously funny, and a great story hour book. Oddfrey’s individuality, imagination, and ingenuity are great traits for a character, real or human. Having read Oddfrey Joins the Team a few times, I am ready to skip to the library, Oddfrey-style, and read the first two books in Oddfrey’s, I mean Mr. Whamond’s quirky series.

ODDFREY JOINS THE TEAM. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Dave Whamond. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA, and Toronto, ON.

Purchase Oddfrey Joins the Team at AmazonBook DepositoryOwlkids Books.

Common Core Guidelines HERE
Learn more about Oddfrey Joins the Team HERE.
Meet the author, Dave Whamond, at his twitter:  https://twitter.com/davewhamond
Find more picture books at the Owlkids Books website:  http://www.owlkidsbooks.com



Oddfrey —-A 2012 Texas 2×2 Selection

Oddfrey and the New Kid

Oddfrey and the New Kid

My Think-a-ma-Jink ----Won the Blue Spruce Award

My Think-a-ma-Jink —-Won the Blue Spruce Award

Reality Check----Syndicated Cartoon Strip

Reality Check—-Syndicated Cartoon Strip






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

Review section word count = 594

oddfrey joins the team

Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: children’s team sports, courage to be yourself, Dave Whamond, friendship, imagination, individuality, ingenuity, My Think-a-ma-Jink, Oddfrey, Oddfrey and the New Kid, Oddfrey Joins the Team, Owlkids Books, Reality Check, soccer, teamwork

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24. Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave Blog Tour


Read on for a Q&A with Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave author Jen White and a giveaway of 3 ARCs of the book (3 winners will be chosen, US only, ends 6/21/2015).

About the book

After their mother's recent death, twelve-year-old Liberty and her eight-year-old sister, Billie, are sent to live with their father, who they haven't seen since they were very young. Things are great at first; the girls are so excited to get to know their father – a traveling photographer who rides around in an RV. But soon, the pressure becomes too much for him, and he abandons them at the Jiffy Company Gas Station.

Instead of moping around and being scared, Liberty takes matters into her own hands. On their journey to get home, they encounter a shady, bald-headed gas station attendant, a full-body tattooed trucker, free Continental breakfast, a kid obsessed with Star Wars, a woman who lives with rats, and a host of other situations.

When all seems lost, they get some help from an unlikely source, and end up learning that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.


Q & A with Jen White

Read Now Sleep Later: Normally, I'd just start the Q&A right off with the questions, but I have to give you a little backstory on my first question.

I was lost once in our local supermarket when I was about 3. In the Philippines, supermarkets are crazy big. I marched up to the customer service desk and told them my grandpa ("lolo" in Tagalog) was lost, and that they needed to make an announcement to find him. They made an announcement and "found" him. The "my lolo is lost" story got repeated to every one of my siblings and cousins from then on as a survival strategy...)

Now the question--Have you ever been lost? How old were you and what did you do about it?

Jen White: I love your “my lolo is lost” story. Also, so great that your family used that experience as an example of how to respond. I think the feeling of being forgotten or lost is a universal emotion or worry. The idea for Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave came from my own “lost” story. When I was twelve and on vacation with my family, I was accidentally forgotten at a remote gas station for six hours. Luckily, I did have my younger sister and cousin with me. My parents didn’t see us get out of the back of our camper truck to use the restroom and they drove away without us. They thought we had fallen asleep and didn’t realize we were missing until they reached their destination, three hours away. We were, obviously, terrified.  Eventually, a police officer (in normal civilian clothing) came and took us to the police station.  At first, we wouldn’t go with him because he didn’t look like a real police officer. But eventually, we saw his police car and decided that he was a policeman. After being interviewed at the police station, he took us to a foster home where we ate bean burritos and watched Mary Poppins. Soon we were reunited with our family. Now, thirty years later, we can laugh about it. But at the time, it was quite traumatic.  

RNSL: Liberty has a very methodical, scientific approach to life. Is Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave a conscious attempt to encourage young girls to pursue a STEM career or is that just icing on the cake?

JW: No, it was not a conscious decision. I love that idea though, and wish I could take credit for it, but it was definitely a subconscious thing. I think girls should pursue whatever career they choose, and how great it is if SSOTAB opens the door even wider to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) possibilities. I once read that young girls are able to imagine themselves capable of achieving what they see other women accomplish. Because of that alone, it is important to have successful women in every field of study and more opportunities for girls. If I have somehow contributed to an ‘I can’ attitude, then that makes me very happy. And as a mother of girls, I think that it is very important.

RNSL: Billie and "Bertie" have a very strong bond despite their age difference. Do you have a sister, and do these characters mirror your relationship? If not, what informs how you wrote their characters?

JW: Yes, I have two sisters and two brothers. As the oldest of five, I feel like Liberty’s semi-bossy nature I come by naturally. I also have five children (four daughters), so I think I have a pretty good handle on the sister dynamic. That being said, I feel like Liberty and Billie are their own creations. I didn’t imagine a particular person as I wrote them, but I know my experience as an older sister and a mother of girls surely influenced how I wrote Liberty and Billie, albeit subconsciously.

RNSL: There are quite a few secondary characters that help or hinder the girls on their journey. Which was the most fun to write and why?

JW: In some ways they are all my favorites. There’s a true emotional connection behind each character. I would say I really loved, Star Wars Kid (Roger) and didn’t want his story to end. I hope I can create some form of Roger again in my future writing. I also loved Lavender Lady and Orson. They made me laugh and were a great duo to write. And finally, I’d say, I loved Tattoo Guy. I love him because upon first observation he seems intimidating and scary, but as the book progresses we get the whole picture of who he is (compassionate, funny, and smart).  In the beginning he is not who he seems. In general, I think this is true about most people. There is so much more to a person than what we see on the surface  Deep down, everyone has a story that is relatable.

RNSL: When did you begin developing this story, and can you tell us a bit about the journey to publication?

JW: I began writing Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave during the last semester of my MFA program. For some reason, I was really scared to write it. But Liberty’s voice was so persistent and compelling that I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I finally became brave enough to write her. I think part of my fear was that I wasn’t sure where the story was going. When I began to write, I had more questions than answers, and that felt really unsettling. Now, I know that’s just how I write: with a list of questions beside me. After I finished my MFA, I attended a writing retreat for experienced writers in my hometown. The visiting editor was Joy Peskin (who, by the way, is now my editor). That is where she read the first twenty pages of SSOTAB. She then asked for a full. Did I mention that I was crazy excited about that?! After she read the full, she had a lot of questions about the book. She suggested I revise (and, hopefully, listen to some of her revision suggestions) and then send it back to her. It took me a really long time to figure out what I was doing with SSOTAB. I went on to write two other books before I could figure out how to get Liberty and Billie through the desert safely. Once I figured that out, I wrote SSOTAB quite quickly and then sent it to Joy. It had been so long since we had last spoken that I was afraid she wouldn’t remember me. But she remembered. :) She read the full and then took the manuscript to acquisitions. The rest is history. (It was much harder and more traumatic than it sounds.) Just picture an exhausted, bleary-eyed, chocolate covered writer… that was me.

RNSL: Are you working on anything new?

JW: When Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave was purchased it was part of a two-book deal. So yes, I am working on Book 2. It is not a sequel to SSOTAB. It is a whole new middle grade animal. I’ve been having a lot of fun writing it. There are some great secondary characters. Maybe, that’s my thing? And (now that you mentioned it in the previous question) I have another, what you might call, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) main character.  Maybe, that’s my thing, too? :) She is anxious, damaged, and smart.

After I spent so much time with Liberty and Billie in SSOTAB I worried that I wouldn’t love my new main characters the same way, but I’ve found that I do. I guess it’s like when you have a second child. You never imagine that you can love another baby as much as the first but, when the second comes, you do. You love them all.

RNSL: Cake or Pie?

JW: Definitely cake. Any cake, anytime. I’m not picky, but if I had my choice it would be a homemade dark chocolate cake with ganache frosting. If you’re ever in town, I shall make it for you.  It is divine.

About the Author

Jen White grew up in California, the oldest of five siblings. In kindergarten, during a parent/teacher conference, her teacher told her mother, “She’s a little bossy.” Unfortunately, Jen thinks that same assessment might still be made today. She blames it on birth order. 

When she was young she wanted to become an author and a teacher. One of her earliest memories was learning how to read. She remembers how excited she was when she realized she could read the signs she saw through the window when she was in the car with her mother. She also remembers how her stomach hurt when she read out loud because she read with such gusto.

Jen has a degree in English teaching and also earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults. Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave is her debut novel and was born from the real experience of Jen being accidentally forgotten at a gas station with her younger sister and cousin. Jen currently tries not to boss around her five children and husband in San Clemente, California.

Find her online at jenwhitebooks.com, tweet @jenwhite_, and follow her on Tumblr.

Giveaway Time!

Three lucky winners will get a copy of Survival Strategies of the Almost BraveUS addresses only, ends June 21, 2015

  • Open to US only, ends 6/21/2015.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter a giveaway. Void where prohibited.
  • We and the publisher are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
  • One set of entries per household please.
  • If you are under 13, please get a parent or guardian's permission to enter, as you will be sharing personal info such as an email address.
  • Winner will be chosen randomly via Rafflecopter widget a day or two after the contest ends.
  • Winner will have 48 hours to respond to to the email, otherwise we will pick a new winner.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to email us at readnowsleeplater@gmail.com
  • PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PERSONAL INFO IN THE COMMENTS. Sorry for the caps, but we always get people leaving their email in the comments. Rafflecopter will collect all that without having personal info in the comments for all the world (and spambots) to find.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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25. Summer Reading Round Up!

Have you compiled your list of books yet? Summer is beginning this month and hopefully your love of reading will be reinvigorated! This is a great time to browse your library, bookstore and favorite review sites for your upcoming book adventures. As an author I am busy writing my own adventures-but also getting prepared to read my favorite authors to myself and to my toddler. How often will you decide to read? Will you set the proper environment for your favorite books? Make it special. Read in the park, on the beach by the pool, in bed, the possibilities are endless-just make sure that you do it. Many of your local libraries have contest-see if you can join. You might just get rewarded for it. -Read something great

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