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Results 1 - 13 of 13
1. SCBWI NY Conference Recap

The SCBWI NY conference was incredible. There just is no other word for it. The staff was very helpful and I was impressed at how smoothly everything ran. They provided delicious breakfast breads and coffee (!!!!) each morning and the cocktail party was stunning and so yummy. I ate way too much of that sweet potato dish.

Here's a picture of me with Kit Grindstaff and Ruth Setton at the social.

I took tedious notes throughout the conference and if you followed the Twitter hashtag #NY13SCBWI you'll find my brief comments along with many others.

Here's a picture of my MiG crit partners: Andrea Mack, Susan Laidlaw, Kate Fall and Carmella Van Vleet. So fun hanging out with them!

I found the conference inspiring, and within it, many gems of wisdom that I can use in my own writing.

Some brief thoughts thoughts of the weekend:

Meg Rosoff had some great things to say about writing for children and to not get discouraged when others ask: "When are you going to write a real book? Like for adults?" She also encourages writers to: "Be flexible"

For my breakout session, I went to Molly O'Neil- she's encourages writers to write with authenticity and heart.

Here's the line of books that Molly has edited.

Next I went to hear Francoise Bui because of her focus on characterization. Her three points were to build great characters you need voice, characterization and texture with in the story.

Shaun Tan, an illustrator, spoke about the importance to not fear failure. This helps us to be free to create and experiment. Knowing that you can throw out your work allows you to be uninhibited to create. I just loved that.

Margaret Peterson Haddix reminded us that we must write a book for the kid that doesn't like to read. If we can do that, then the kids who do like to read will love it, too.

Julie Andews spoke with her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. I was amazed by Andrew's presence, which seemed to fill the entire room. The two of them talked about brainstorming and then plotting since they need to work with each other to get the job done. They use a web cam for most of their writing sessions.

Since they write multiple books in a series, they realized they needed to keep the books balanced between the inevitable and the element of surprise, which can be tricky.

Finally, Mo Williams raced to the podium and then around the room. He was great and I laughed so hard hearing him speak. Williams urged us to go deeper, write what we don't know and understand so that we can explore new emotions within ourselves. He also said to not be afraid to ask the tough questions.

Here's a link of great advice on Mo's 9 steps of writing.

Oh, and I loved this line Williams said, "Writing is like a sale at the Gap. Take off 20%!"

Such a great experience. I would highly recommend this conference!

7 Comments on SCBWI NY Conference Recap, last added: 2/13/2013
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2. The Autograph Party

Almost the moment Mo Willems' keynote speech ended, people started lining up to get their books signed and we kid you not, the line ran the length of a football field (that's 100 yards, for those of you unfamiliar with the sport, or 91.44 meters if you're Canadian).

It's no wonder people are so excited to have their books inscribed, when you share the room with the likes of Julie Andrews, Mo Willems, Shaun Tan, Jane Yolen, Tomie dePaolo ...

We could and should go on, but we'll let the pictures speak for themselves. 

Mo Willems

Shaun Tan fans standing in a queue (do they say that in Australia?)

Shaun Tan

Mark Teague and Floyd Cooper

Meg Rosoff and David Ezra Stein

Lin Oliver and Theo Baker

Tomie DePaola and Jane Yolen

Margaret Peterson Haddix and Matthew Kirby

Arthur Levine is a full-service editor. Here, he's opening
the book to the right page for an inscription.

1 Comments on The Autograph Party, last added: 2/11/2013
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3. Torn (MG)

Torn. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 352 pages.

"We didn't know what we were doing," a voice whispered near Jonah's ear. 

I really loved this fourth novel in the Missing series. I can't say that I've loved each of the novels equally. Though each has had its moments. But I can say that I've really enjoyed the series--or the idea behind the series. I love the time travel element. I love how each novel--or to be more precise, the second, third, and fourth novels--have focused on one time in particular. In the fourth novel, Jonah and his sister have been sent to 1611. They arrive on board Henry Hudson's ship just hours before a mutiny occurs. Jonah is posing as Hudson's son, and, well there is a lot depending on him. For the two have been told--and they have every reason to believe it--that time is falling apart and that they are the only two in position to repair the damage.

I would say that this is definitely a series you need to read in order. I'm not sure that Torn would be such a great read if you weren't familiar with the previous books.

If you enjoy action, adventure, history, mystery, and science fiction, then this series is definitely worth trying.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 Comments on Torn (MG), last added: 9/28/2011
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4. September 2012: Best Selling Kids’ Books, New Releases, and More …

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: September 3, 2012

Here’s the scoop on the most popular destinations on The Children’s Book Review site, the most coveted new releases and bestsellers.


Gearing Up for Kindergarten

Best Halloween Books for Kids: Scary, Spooky, and Silly

Review: Scat by Carl Hiaasen

How Picture Books Play a Role in a Child’s Development

Where to Find Free eBooks for Children Online


The most coveted books that release this month:

Llama Llama Time to Share

by Anna Dewdney

(Ages 3-5)

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas

by Eric Litwin

(Ages 4-8)

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems

by Mo Willems

(Ages 3-7)

Shatterproof (The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, Book 4)

by Roland Smith

(Ages 8-12)

Caught (Missing)

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

(Ages 9-12)


The best selling children’s books this month:


The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

by William Joyce

(Ages 4-8)

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

by Eric Litwin

(Ages 4-7)

I Want My Hat Back

by Jon Klassen

(Ages 4-8)

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

by Sherri Duskey Rinker (Author), Tom Lichtenheld (Illustrator)

(Ages 4-8)

Press Here

by Herve Tullet

(Ages 4-8)


The Heroes of Olympus: The Demigod Diaries

by Rick Riordan

(Ages 10-14)

Insurgent (Divergent)

by Veronica Roth

(Ages 14 and up)

The Fault in our Stars

by John Green

(Ages 14-17)


by R.J. Palacio

(Ages 8-12)

Heroes of Olympus, The, Book Two: The Son of Neptune

by Rick Riordan

(Ages 9-11)




by Veronica Roth

(Ages 14 and up)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky

(Ages 14 and up)

The Book Thief The Book Thief

by Markus Zusak

(Ages 14 and up)

Thirteen Reasons Why

by Jay Asher

(Ages 12 and up)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

by Sherman Alexie

(Ages 12 and up)



Hunger Games Trilogy Boxset Hunger Games Trilogy

by Suzanne Collins

(Ages 12 and up)

Maximum Ride

by James Patterson

(Ages 13-17)

Dork Diaries

by Rachel Renee Russell

(Ages 9-12)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Box of BooksDiary of a Wimpy Kid

by Jeff Kinney

(Ages 9 to 12)

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Paperback Boxed Set (Books 1-3)Percy Jackson & the Olympians

by Rick Riordan

(Ages 9 to 12)

This information was gathered from the New York Times Best Sellers list, which reflects the sales of books from books sold nationwide, including independent and chain stores. It is correct at the time of publication and presented in random order. Visit: www.nytimes.com.

Original article: September 2012: Best Selling Kids’ Books, New Releases, and More …

©2012 The Childrens Book Review. All Rights Reserved.

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5. Caught (MG)

Caught. (Missing #5) Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 352 pages.

  I have enjoyed Margaret Peterson Haddix's time-travel series for middle grade. Some of the books I've liked better than others, but, for the most part, I've enjoyed each one. In this fifth adventure, Jonah and Katherine face their biggest challenge so far. The book begins with the freezing of time. Jonah and Katherine are in school when time freezes. They know that something must have happened, but when and where?! They seek out others who have traveled in time--the only people unaffected so it seems by frozen time--but before they get the chance to do anything, Jonah and Katherine find themselves falling through time and landing in 1903. They have a few clues, they know Albert Einstein and his wife are somehow connected to their being there. But for the most part, these two are clueless and choosing to be invisible for as long as possible...but Albert Einstein's wife is clever and knows something is up....

Caught is a fast-paced read. I don't enjoy this series because the characters are well-developed and fascinating. I enjoy this series because of the story, the action, the history. I enjoy learning about different periods of history. I enjoy the author's notes at the end of each book. I like learning what is truth and what is fiction. I enjoy the time travel aspect of the story and the mystery behind it.

Read Caught
  • If you've enjoyed the other titles in the Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • If you enjoy middle grade science fiction with a time travel element
  • If you enjoy children's books with action and mystery

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 Comments on Caught (MG), last added: 11/14/2012
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6. Margaret Peterson Haddix Keynote "Tell Me a Story"

Margaret Peterson Haddix is an award-winning author of more than thirty books for kids.

Margaret takes the stages in such a vibrant manner, opening with, "Someday I'll be able to say, 'I once opened for Julie Andrews." (Julie Andrews will give the next keynote.) Pretty cool.

"You don't get to be an author without a certain amount of persistence." 

Margaret questions what the doomsday-ers might have said when storytellers decided to write the story down, or when the printing press came about.

"Kids need our stories. I think that it's hardwired into all of us...Kids need stories to help them be empathetic to others...It's the stories themselves that matter, not the manner in which they read them."

"Kids are trying to make sense of the world, and they use stories to do it."

Margaret used to tell her daughter stories, reminiscing, and telling her events from her own childhood. During one rambling story, her daughter became quite angry with her and yelled at her mom to get to, "and then one day."It took Margaret a while to realize what her daughter was screaming for was plot.

When Margaret starts to think she's going on too long in a scene, she asks herself if what she's writing matters, and her internal editor starts telling her to get to the and then one day.

She worries about people who are asked, "When are going to write a real book?" at a vulnerable time in their writing life. What if some books have not been written because a writers confidence was taken away from the question?

When looking back at books that mattered to her as a child, Margaret asked what it was about those books that made them so great. Those were the elements she wanted in her own books. Those books had:

  • adventure not found in normal life
  • cliff-hanger chapter needing
  • spunky main characters
  • characters that felt like friends or the friends she wished she had

Making this list helped Margaret know what she wanted in her own work.

When revising it's not a bad idea to imagine the reluctant and picky reader that might be looking for any reason to put your book down. "You want your book to be so great that even the most finicky reader will eat it up."

"Fail big if you have to, but go try trying."

"Tell the story you're afraid of. Tell the story that surprises you. Tell the story you care about more than anything else because that's what kids need."

0 Comments on Margaret Peterson Haddix Keynote "Tell Me a Story" as of 2/3/2013 1:48:00 PM
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7. Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Review by Amanda Snow
A Patchworks of Books

As one of my favorite thrill-evoking authors, Margaret Peterson Haddix has swayed from her norm in this novel, based upon the horrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory tragedy in the early 1900's. I was instantly intrigued at the topic, especially with Haddix being the author, however I think in the end I was left just a little disappointed.

Uprising is told through the eyes of three main characters, Yetta, an outspoken Russian Jewish immigrant, Bella, a young Italian immigrant, having just arrived in America, and Jane, a rich, spoiled American girl, considered of marrying age, yet still living under the watchful eye of her nanny. All three girls become intertwined though the novel, through the famous Triangle Factory strike, poverty, running away from family, and eventually the horrid fire that ravaged the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, leaving many dead due to poor and hazardous conditions within the factory itself.

Though very historically accurate and throughly explained, this book just lacked the spark (no pun intended) that all of Haddix's books contain. It was a little long in the sense that the strike took up 90% of the plot and the fire and aftermath only were described at the very end of the book. I was hoping for a little more on what the fallout was afterwards. The content was a little above middle grade level, which I do believe it is aimed towards, and though I'm sure middle grader's could read it, I think the story may do better with young adults.

I certainly still enjoyed the novel and will always look forward to reading books by Haddix. I may not have liked this one quite as much as her others simply because it was so different. Everyone needs variety though, even me!

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8. Two REALLY Good Books!

Hey, it's Carl again and I just finished two terrific books--really terrific books! Couldn't wait to tell you about them.

The first is Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix. She's famous for her Shadow Children series. I haven't read any of them (have you?) but I read a rave review of this new one so I checked it out. Wow! What a thrill ride! It starts with a plane that appears out of nowhere at an airport. When people go in to investigate, they find no pilot and no attendants. In fact, the plane is deserted---except that each seat has a baby in it! Fast forward thirteen years later. Jonah always knew that he was adopted and it was no big deal; he had a good home and great parents. Then he gets a strange letter that says, "You are one of the missing." A few days later he gets another one that says...well, you'll have to read it to find out!! Let me tell you, though, this is one book that won't let you go! You've got people that appear and disappear, government people with secrets, and mysterious people with plans for Jonah and his friends! PLUS, there's a big fight in a library!!!

The second is The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis, the latest 39 Clues book. This one is also a winner. Dan and Amy Cahill are headed to Japan to find the next clue and, right away, their seats are stolen by Ian and Natalie Kabra, separating them from Nellie Gomez, their au pair. Then the action really starts! You've got Amy with her foot caught on a subway rail as the train approaches, chases with yakuza (an ancient order of Japanese gangsters), a new bad guy, and one of the biggest secrets of the Cahill family!! This one was so absorbing that I missed my bus stop on the way home!
We'll anounce the Author Shoot-out Champion tomorrow. Stay tuned!

1 Comments on Two REALLY Good Books!, last added: 4/4/2009
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9. Sent (MG)

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. 2009. Sent (The Missing, Book 2). Simon & Schuster. 313 pages.

Jonah was falling, tumbling over and over, down and down, through nothingness and absence and void.

Jonah and his sister, Katherine--being true friends--couldn't let Chip go alone. True, they didn't know where he was going exactly, though they had a handle on why, but whatever hardships come their way, they'll face together. Jonah and Chip are both adopted. But their mothers, their birth mothers, didn't come from the twenty-first century or even the twentieth. No, Jonah, Chip, and others like them--like Alex--are children "rescued" by future time travelers. You can read all about this mystery in the first novel in the series...Found.

Who is Chip? Who is Alex? I mean who are they really? These two kids are royalty. Chip being Edward V, and Alex, his younger brother, being Richard, the Duke of York. And now all four children are being sent back in time--by one faction of the future time travelers--to the fourteenth century. Chip and Alex were sent back in time to restore the past to what it should have been, to try to prevent damages to the timeline. But now that Katherine and Chip are part of it, plans have shifted a bit.

How well do you know your history? What do you know about the fourteenth century? If you're like Chip, Alex, Katherine, and Jonah, the answer is not much. What they do know--what soon becomes obvious--is that Chip/Edward and Alex/Richard are in danger. Richard of Gloucester is making a power play for the throne. And if history is destined to repeat itself, then these two may not be long for this world.

What did I like about this one, I mean, besides the time traveling bits? Well, I liked that Margaret Peterson Haddix uses a great historical mystery to tell her own story. What happened to those two boys has always been a mystery. Was Richard III a murderer? Did he hire someone to kill these two boys? If they did die of unnatural causes, how did they die...and when. Where the two skeletons unearthed centuries later really and truly their remains? Where these two smuggled to safely? Did they live out their lives in hiding? Is Richard III a monster like William Shakespeare portrayed him? Is Richard III evil incarnate? Or has history done him a great injustice?

This one offers a little history and mystery which combined with the more science fiction elements of the story make for a compelling read.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 Comments on Sent (MG), last added: 8/19/2009
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10. Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix

It is the peak of immigration in New York City, at the dawn of the twentieth century. Shouts in dozens of languages whoop through the air and smells from every dish imaginable waft through the streets of the Lower East Side. Tenements, rickety but home, climb the sky, fire escapes snaking down. The streets are crowded with pushcarts and calls. Thus is the setting for The Uprising, by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Bella is a young immigrant girl, fresh from Italy and weighted with the daunting task of providing for her family overseas. She is lucky to find a job, though the hours spent hunched over a sewing machine in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory are not quite what she expected.

Yetta has worked at Triangle for months. She lives with her equally rebellious elder sister, and, like Bella, sends most of her earnings home to her family in Russia. She is lively with life and pulsing with her want to change the world, to mean something, to matter. She wants women’s rights and safer conditions at work, shorter hours and higher wages. She is determined and fiery, willing to stand for months in the blistering heat and shivering cold, holding a picket sign and striking for union recognition in factories. Yetta is spirited and intense, gladly giving every bit of herself to her cause.

Jane, lastly, is a society girl with an intellectual spark. She is curious and compassionate, spending time with strikers and at rallies for no gain of her own, and finds herself swept up into this passionate world of striking and working and wanting and hoping. There is more to feel, she finds, outside of her ignorant, sheltered life. And these ardent factory girls so desperate for their cause accept her and love her—she finds a place with them that she cannot find at home.

Uprising is the story of these three girls. It is inspiring and adrenalizing (if that was not previously a word, I now deem it one), making me want to jump up and devote myself to a cause with all of my everything. On the other hand, the book does such a good job of enticing the readers into the world it creates, that it runs the risk of romanticizing poverty to some extent.

However, all in all, I love the way the book was crafted. The fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory looms ahead for the entire novel. Right from the first chapter, we learn that two of the three best friends will die in the fire, though we do not know which ones they will be. This sets up an interesting dynamic--as I would read and get to know each character better, I would start to root for her to survive, before realizing, dismayed, that the other two would have to perish. It gave the book momentum and a reason for me to keep reading at the few moments the plot lagged.

Furthermore, the author was very skilled at weaving fiction and fact together, creating a story that haunts and perplexes, makes you think about the world and what you can do to change it, but also makes you care deeply for the three main characters. She succeeded in bringing life to a tragedy that occurred almost a hundred years ago. In making us care not only for the girls who died, but for the factory owners and the workers who survived as well. In painting a horrifying picture of flame and sky and the impossible choice—to jump or to burn? In making readers understand that if we want change to we have to fight for it, as the shirtwaist girls did in their months-long strike. The author wrote the story to make us u

2 Comments on Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix, last added: 12/7/2009
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11. What’s Hot in August, 2010? Author Events, Best Selling Kids’ Books, and More …

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 1, 2010

Here’s the scoop on the most popular destinations on The Children’s Book Review site, the most coveted new releases, the bestsellers, and kids’ book events.


Sleepy Kittens: Despicable Me

2010 Children’s Choice Book Awards Nominees

20 Sites to Improve Your Child’s Literacy

Summer Reading Tips & What to Read When

Kids’ Summer Reading Lists: Early-Fluent to Fluent Readers / Ages 6-10


The most coveted books that release this month:

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

by Suzanne Collins

(Young Adult)

Artemis Fowl 7: The Atlantis Complex Artemis Fowl 7: The Atlantis Complex

by Eoin Colfer

(Ages 9-12)

The 39 Clues, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet The 39 Clues, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

(Ages 9-12)

Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes (I Can Read Book 1)Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes

by Jane O’connor

(Ages 4-8)

Hunger Games Trilogy BoxsetHunger Games Trilogy Boxset

by Suzanne Collins

(Young Adult)

Sabotaged (Missing) Sabotaged (Missing)

by Margaret Peterson Haddix

(Ages 8-12)

Clementine, Friend of the WeekClementine, Friend of the Week

by Sara Pennypacker

(Ages 7-10)


12. Palace of Mirrors

Palace of MirrorsPalace of Mirrors Margaret Peterson Haddix

Cecelia has spent her whole life training to be a princess, because she is the true princess, hidden from her enemies, waiting until she can take her rightful throne. She spends a lot of time daydreaming about the reward she'll give the commoner who's been pretending to be the princess for her all this time.

When Cecelia finally sets out to the capitol to claim her throne, she finds Princess Desmia has spent her whole life being warned of pretenders to the throne. In fact, she has an entire dungeon full of girls who claim to be the real princess, who have stories exactly like Cecelia's.

Desmia and Cecelia live in Suala, the kingdom that Fridesia is at war with in Just Ella (And Ella makes an appearance here). Luckily Desmia's not a bad person and has Ella counseling her an they quickly realize that while the girls in the dungeon can't all the real princess, there are larger forces at work here.

I liked this one. Cecelia really annoyed me throughout most of the book-- she was a bit mentally spoiled. She didn't have a lot of material goods, but believing she was the true princess, she was more than a little high and mighty. I really liked Harper (crush on him!)

I don't think that court intrigue is Haddix's strong point (at least, not what I've seen with Just Ella and Palace of Mirrors) but I did enjoy both books, this one more than Just Ella.

Book Provided by... my local library

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13. Michael Tells Us About a Couple of Winners!

Howdy ho, gang! The Iron Guy has been busy once again, swimming laps around the Atlantic Ocean and checking out books for all the good people of Charlotte. I've been so busy, in fact, that I didn't think I'd have time to tell you about any more terrific books. But there was no reason to fear--our good friend Michael, (King of Books and Time Travel) has stepped in and written about two really good-sounding reads. Let's hear what he has to say:

Titanic, book 2
Collision Course
by Gordan Korman
With the notorious gangster Kevin Gilhooley in the brig of the Titanic, Paddy Burns is finally safe... or is he? He and Alfie have found a mysterious notebook belonging to a murderer from long ago. Is he onboard the ship? Alfie has his prime suspect: a grumpy old man with two lame legs. All the clues point to him, but could he really be a ruthless killer? Sophie and Julianna get caught up in the mystery too, plus, there are rumors about the ship of approaching ice glaciers. Is it true? Is the old man a murderer? And, most importantly, just how safe is the unsinkable Titanic? Gordan Korman takes his writing to new heights with incredible true facts and shocking twists and turns. You won't want to miss out on this exciting read! Also, look out for book 3: S. O. S.

The Missing, book 4


by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Jonah and Katherine are trapped in time again. Only this time, they have no contact with JB, no helpful gadgets, and worst of all, no tracers! They've all disappeared! The two are trapped in 1611 aboard Henry Hudson's ship. But after the tracers disappear, things aren't as they seem. Hudson was supposed to be left in a rowvoat at sea, but instead, his ship came back for him! Plus, he's looking for the Northwest Passage, which doesn't exist, but suddenly, it appears out of nowhere! And one of the crew members on board isn't what he appears to be... or, more accurately, he isn't who he appears to be. How are Jonah and Katherine supposed to get time back on track? How can they survive on the ship? And how can they save JB and the rest of their friends who are still trapped in 1611? You can never guess what will happen next in Haddix's new masterpiece, plus, she goes even deeper in exploring new aspects of time. If you haven't read The Missing, you're surely missing out on one of today's greatest classics!

Thanks, Michael! You always find the best books. And you always make me want to read them! I read the first book in the Found series but haven't gotten around to the others. You really made me want to read this one. I'm also a big fan of Gordon Korman's Island trilogy. (If you want to find find out what we've written about Found or the Island trilogy or those two authors, click on the Labels section under this post) Well, back to checking out more books to our friends. Stand back, everybody--the Iron Guy can check out books only at supersonic speed, not light speed!

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