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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Greg Leitich Smith, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 15 of 15
1. Guest Post: Greg Leitich Smith on Hapa Characters: Asian-White Biracial Representation

By Greg Leitich Smith
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

As with a lot of aspects of creative media these days, Disney movies have been criticized for their lack of diversity.

While such criticism is necessary, I think it’s important as well to give praise where it’s due and acknowledge things done right.

So I want to hand it to Disney for featuring resonant Asian-white characters in several of its recent animated movies, something you rarely see in any media.

The characters Hiro and Tadashi from "Big Hero Six;" Wilbur Robinson from "Meet the Robinsons;" and Russell from "Up" are all Asian-white (this in a field that's largely #whitewashedOUT, and note that all of these films were financially successful).

One of the things about these portrayals that I particularly liked, too, was that while the characters are clearly the products of their backgrounds, their ethnicities were not the be all and end all of their existences.

In other words, they are fully developed characters – persons – with individual wants and needs that have nothing to do with their heritage.

Being of German and Japanese descent myself, I tend to notice this sort of thing.

Portraying Asian mixed-race characters as mainstream with idiosyncratic wants and needs is something I've striven for in my books.

My first novel, Ninjas, Piranhas and Galileo, pokes some fun at the “caught between two worlds” motif: Shohei O’Leary (one of three co-protagonists) is of wholly Japanese descent and has been adopted by parents of Irish descent. Still, he is first and foremost a kid who has to deal with his specific wacky parents.

By Blake Henry from Chronal Engine
In Tofu and T.rex, the protagonist, Hans-Peter Yamada (whose family owns a German delicatessen and butcher shop), has to deal with a vegan cousin who comes to live with them.

Although both Shohei and Hans-Peter are Japanese American, their ethnicity informs their background rather than wholly defines it (like their being Chicagoans informs their backgrounds rather than wholly defining them).

Similarly, the protagonist, Max Takahashi-Pierson, and his siblings in Chronal Engine and Borrowed Time (both Clarion) are, like Hans-Peter, hapa. They're Asian and white. (Their friend Petra is Mexican-German American.)

Max is focused on surviving encounters with Tyrannosaurus rex and surviving being caught between the contemporary world and the world of dinosaurs (literally),  as opposed to being "caught between two [ethnic] worlds."

This is all to say, when it comes to animated hapa boys: Good job, Disney.

Now about live-action kids, other identities-intersections, and hapa girls...

Cynsational Notes

Check out the educator guides for Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn, Chronal Engine and Borrowed Time. See also the Chronal Engine Activity Kit.

Greg is currently booking for fall 2016 and the 2017-2018 school year. Contact The Booking Biz to invite him to your event.

Greg uses the term hapa to refer to someone of biracial (Asian) heritage. He learned it from his mother, who is Japanese-American, originally from Hawaii.

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2. Get your gaming guesses (and your guesser-gamers) ready…

For my upcoming book Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet, it’s pretty obvious which video game terms the letters A, B, and C are for. But what about the rest of the alphabet?

In the Bartography Express newsletter sent to my subscribers this week, I announced that my publisher will be giving away advance copies of the book for correct guesses about D through Z. So, alert any gaming aficionados you know: For the next 23 days, on my blog and on Twitter, I’ll be offering clues in the form of bits of the illustrations for those letters, similar to the pieces of “A is for Attack,” “B is for Boss,” and “C is for Cheat Code” featured in Bartography Express.

I’m also giving away a copy of Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn, a funny, twisty, middle grade sci-fi thriller by Greg Leitich Smith, to one subscriber to my newsletter. If you’re not already receiving it, click the image below for a look -— if you like what you see, click “Join” in the bottom right corner, and you’ll be in the running for the giveaway at the end of this week.

20140731 Bartography Express

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3. Married to another author? How does that work, exactly?

Who am I to pass up an opportunity to link to a guest post Jenny wrote at Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Cynsations blog — especially when the topic involves me?

Jenny and me. Photo by Sam Bond Photography.

Jennifer Ziegler on How to Live Happily Ever After With Another Writer

…I think what people are specifically wondering about is how does it help or hinder our writing – and our marriage?

Upon reflection I’ve come up with some underlying “rules” that make our partnership work.

1) We celebrate each other’s triumphs – even if it’s “Yay, you worked out that thorny section in chapter nine!” Because we are fans of each other’s work, each other’s victories feel like our own.

But also, we know that because other rewards, like honors, critical acclaim, and, yes, money, are fleeting in this business, we need other ways to measure our success. And a hard-fought victory over a tricky section is every bit as worthy of commemoration as a major award.

In addition to complimenting each other…

Thank goodness someone finally had the opportunity to explain to Cyn what it’s like being married to another author.

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4. An amazing way to learn illustration

So what is musician-performer-dancer-composer Lindsey Stirling doing on this blog about children’s book illustration? She’s an artist but she works in a different medium. She hasn’t published a children’s picture book. (Not yet, anyway, but give her time.) I’m sharing this video of her 2011 tune Shadows, because twenty-two million YouTube viewers are not wrong […]

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5. A party in February

Erik Kuntz, Amy Rose Capetta and Nick Alter made this video of the Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators 2012 Regional Conference, Something for Everybody.  I get a kick out of how the thumbnail on YouTube shows me in the crowd, getting a hug from illustrator Marsha Riti. So of course I had to include it here. Erik, [...]

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6. Beach Writes – The Southampton Childrens Literature Conference

“If you’re dreaming of becoming the next J. K. Rowling, we’ve got the perfect place for you—the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference!” So said School Library Journal last year after Rocco Staino paid a visit to the Stony Brook Southampton campus to observe the Conference in action.

As Director of the Conference, I am delighted to announce that applications are now being accepted for our July 2012 workshops. We have a truly stellar line-up of faculty members this year, every one of whom is an esteemed, award-winning author in his (or her) own right, including:

Every workshop is capped at 12 students, which makes for a uniquely individualized experience and an incredible opportunity for specific and direct feedback and support. It also means they fill up quickly – so don’t delay if you’re thinking of applying!

A bit more information about the Conference… this year there will be two sessions, a five day one (July 11-15) featuring workshops in picture book, middle grade and YA with Peter H. Reynolds, Kate McMullan and Cynthia and Greg Leitich-Smith, respectively, and a 12-day session (July 18-29) in YA with Patricia McCormick.  Mornings are spent in workshop, and in the afternoons a series of electives are offered such as craft lectures, panel discussions and mini-workshops. You can also choose to spend time writing at one of the beautiful Hamptons beaches or on the gorgeous campus grounds.

Because the Childrens Literature Conference is part of the Southampton Arts Summer, it runs concurrently with workshops in playwriting and screenwriting, as well as with adult workshops in poetry, memoir, novel, creative non-fiction, and even acting and visual arts. Evening events feature well-known authors, playwrights, and filmmakers. The schedule of formal and informal social gatherings is rich—from author receptions to an open-mic night—with a few surprises, too. And because Southampton Arts sponsors an esteemed and long-standing MFA in Creative Writing and Literature at Stony Brook Southampton, as well as new MFA’s in Theatre, Film and Visual Arts, the workshops may be taken for credit. There are even a few partial scholarships available.

To find out more, or to download an application, visit http://www.southamptonchildrenslit.com

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7. Another nice review

Many thanks to author Greg Leitich Smith for this nice review!

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8. Friday Night Highlights

I was invited to party in Austin, Texas on Friday in celebration of Cynthia Leitich Smith's new book, Tantalize. I was telling Treebeard about Cynthia and Greg on the way to the capitol city Friday afternoon. After listening to my mini lecture, he commented that they sounded like extremely generous people.

Generous is the perfect word to describe them.

Their home was the setting for the party, the food was beautiful and delicious (very important.) There were these beautiful melt in your mouth roasted tomatoes and salmon and wraps and this amazing Italian cream cake.

I should have taken a picture.

Greg describes the menu at his blog.

There were so many people there and I was secure in the knowledge that I didn't know a soul besides Cynthia and Greg.

Aaacckk ...

Then I saw Julie Lake, author of the historical fiction novel, Galveston: Summer of the Storm about the 1900 Galveston hurricane. I hosted Julie at my library for an author visit a few years ago. She is so nice and rounded up people to meet me.

I should have taken a picture.

Brian Anderson writes the Adventures of Commander Zack Proton series. His series echoes the light hearted spirit of comic books (not Graphic Novels) of old. I met YA author Brian Yanksy (need to read his books) and Jo Whittemore author of The Silverskin Legacy.

I should have taken a picture.

Even though the party was in honor of Tantalize, Cynthia used the opportunity to introduce and showcase books by other Austin writers (generous, remember?) Kathi Appelt (I've cataloged and shared so many of her books with kids,) Helen Hemphill (I just received a copy of Runaround but did not get to talk to her,) Brian Yanksy, Jo Whittemore and April Lurie.

Then I got to meet Don Tate and his wife!!! It is sort of surreal and wonderful to meet people-you-feel-like-you-know-because-you- read-their-blog-but-you-don't-really-know-them but then they turn out to be even nicer and kinder than you could have ever imagined.

I was dazzled by the company and impressed by the community of writers in Austin, Texas. Their support and enthusiasm for each others' work is inspiring. It was an honor to be included Friday and I marvel again at the blessings the kidlitosphere has brought me.

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9. How To Throw A Book Launch Party

Learn "How to Throw a Book Launch Party" via an article I've written that has been posted to Anastasia Suen's blog, Create/Relate: News from the Children's Book Biz.

Speaking of which, the lovely Elizabeth Garton Scanlon at Liz In Ink is the latest blogger to chime in about my Tantalize launch party. Liz is the author of A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes: A Pocket Book, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (HarperCollins, 2004). Visit her author site and read her recent interview at Cynsations.

Don't miss the other party reports from Cynsations, GregLSBlog, Don Tate's Devas T. Rants and Raves, Camille's Book Moot, Jo Whittemore's LJ (great pics!), and Alison Dellenbaugh's Alison Wonderland. Read Cynsations interviews with Greg, Don, and Jo.

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10. Tantalize Giveaway Contest at YABC

Young Adult (& Kids) Book Central is sponsoring a giveaway contest that features 20 available copies of Tantalize. The challenge is: "Make up a favorite recipe/dish for either a vampire or a werewolf. Be Creative! And remember, answers DO count!" See the entry form. The event is co-sponsored by YABC and Candlewick Press. Please help spread the word!

In review news, Publishers Weekly cheers "...horror fans will be hooked by Kieren's quiet, hirsute hunkiness..." I love the alliteration "hirsuit hunkiness." How fun is that?

Thanks to BookPeople of Austin, Texas for featuring the book in its March newsletter! This is my local independent bookstore. Yay, Austin!

Thanks also to Cat for her kind and enthusiastic welcome to MySpace. I'm honored.

And last, I'd also like to note that I've signed a contract for a new picture book ("Holler Loudly") with Dutton. I'll keep you posted on illustrator and pub-date news.

More News & Links

Congratulations to my pal and fellow Austinite Chris Barton of Bartography on the sale of his SECOND book! Wahoo!

"How Bleak Thou Art:" my comedic writer (and very cute) husband and sometimes co-author, Greg Leitich Smith, blogs about the dearth of YA/tween comedies at Blogger. See also comments on his LJ syndication.

Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature blogs about Less Than Half, More Than Whole by Michael and Kathleen Lacapa (Northland, 1999). See my bibliographies on books with interracial family themes and Native themes.

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11. Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo by Greg Leitich Smith: The Japanese Edition

Congratulations to my husband and sometimes co-author Greg Leitich Smith on the publication of the Japanese edition of Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo (Poplar Sha, 2007)!

The book was originally published in hardcover by Little Brown in 2003, then in audio by Recorded Books in 2004 and in paperback by Little Brown in 2005. A Korean edition also is forthcoming. Read author interviews about the novel from Cynsations, Downhome Books, Debbi Michiko Florence and YABC.

From the flap copy: "Elias, Shohei, and Honoria have always been a trio united against That Which Is The Peshtigo School. But suddenly it seems that understanding and sticking up for a best friend isn't as easy as it used to be.

Elias, reluctant science fair participant, finds himself defying the authority of Mr. Ethan Eden, teacher king of chem lab. Shohei, all-around slacker, is approaching a showdown with his adoptive parents, who have decided that he needs to start 'hearing' his ancestors. And Honoria, legal counsel extraordinaire, discovers that telling a best friend you like him, without actually telling him, is a lot harder than battling Goliath Reed or getting a piranha to become vegetarian.

What three best friends find out about the Land of the Rising Sun, Pygocentrus nattereri, and Galileo's choice, among other things, makes for a hilarious and intelligent read filled with wit, wisdom, and a little bit of science."

Honors and Awards

  • Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner 2003
  • Writers' League of Texas Teddy Award, 2004
  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • An ALA Popular Paperback for Young Adult Readers, 2006
  • Nominee, Georgia Children's Book Award, 2005-2006
  • Featured, Texas Book Festival

"A fresh, unusual story of friendship and honesty, riddled with wit, intelligence, and more than a few chuckles." --School Library Journal

"[A] fast-paced send up of school life. Smith achieves just the right balance of intelligent wit and drama in his first novel." --Booklist

"Smith's sparkling debut offers three seventh grade narrators, each of them precocious, intelligent, and wickedly funny... Readers will identify with these smart characters and enjoy the vicarious attendance at their idiosyncratic school." --Publishers Weekly

More News & Links

In the Coop with David Lubar from Three Silly Chicks. David's latest book is True Talents (Starscape, 2007)(excerpt)(promo video).

Authors Jill Esbaum and Linda Skeers are leading an intensive picture book writing workshop-retreat from June 1 to June 3, 2007, in eastern Iowa. For more information, visit http://www.linda-skeers.com/ and click Whispering Woods Picture Book Workshop. Read a Cynsations interview with Jill.

Children's Literature Network: This site receives more than one million hits per month. It draws a national community of people from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about children's literature and want to learn more about the industry. The site’s popular Author and Illustrator section offers helpful information about children's book authors and illustrators in any given geographical area. To be listed on one of these pages through a CLN Professional Membership, visit their site.

Deborah Lynn Jacobs: official author site. Deborah's books include The Same Difference (Royal Fireworks, 2000), Powers (Roaring Brook, 2006), and Choices (Roaring Brook, 2007). See bio and a Cynsations interview with Deborah.

Carmen Oliver: new official site of an Austin-based children's writer.

Attention Austinites: Diane Gonzales Bertrand will be signing The Ruiz Street Kids/Los muchachos de la Calle Ruiz (Arte Publico, 2006) and Upside Down and Backwards/De cabeza y al reves (Arte Publico, 2004) at 2 p.m. March 24 at the Barnes & Noble Arboretum. Read a Cynsations interview with Diane.

More Personally

I'm honored that my recent YA novel, Tantalize (Candlewick, 2007) is one of two featured "Books of the Week" at Genrefluent: The World of Genre Fiction. The recommendation reads "Tantalize is a seductive read, perfect to savor with it myriad twists and turns..." and continues "This delectable novel is already creating quite a buzz among teen readers with good reason." Read the whole review.

The other featured book this week is Split Screen: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies by Brent Hartinger (HarperCollins, 2007)(author interview); read the review.

The mastermind behind Genrefluent is Diana Tixier Herald, author of Genreflecting: A Guide to Popular Reading Interests (Sixth Edition)(Libraries Unlimited, 2005).

Thanks to Tracie Vaughn Zimmer for her take on Tantalize: "...this is a no-holds-bar gothic, titilating scintillating tale with a hot werewolf boyfriend and murder mystery with bloody fangs. Fans of Libba Bray's Beauty series take note: this is where to wait. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!" Read the whole recommendation. Don't miss Tracie's Reaching for the Sun (Bloomsbury, 2007).

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12. Star-Lit: a Children's Literature Festival

The Star-Lit Children's Literature Festival has been an annual event in the Dallas area since 2003. Proceeds from from the one day event benefit the Dallas Bethlehem Center. Breakfast with the Authors tickets are $30 but the rest of the day's events are free to the public this year. If that were not reason enough to attend, uber-blogger, Cynthia Leitich Smith and Greg Leitich Smith are among the authors and illustrators presenting this year.

I have dreams of attending this and the Texas Book Festival every year but events on the home front seem to always conflict. Maybe this will be my lucky year?

Cynthia will also be presenting at the 2007 National Book Festival in Washington D.C. this year. The Mercer Mayer's poster is beautiful. I picked up a copy of last year's poster at the Library of Congress in May. These would be so interesting to collect.

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13. Over the rivers and through the woods...

As the holiday season approaches many folks will be traveling.
I've been helping teachers, parents and kids find audio books "for the road" recently.

As a public service, it has occurred to me that we might compile some suggestions for good listens in the car or on planes or trains.
Personally, I have found audio books very motivating to get me out walking more frequently.

I like a narrator whose performance or personae does not get in the way of the story. I found Brendan Fraser's narration of Cornelia Funke's Dragon Rider almost too distracting at first because I kept hearing "Brendan Fraser" instead of the story. I knew Funke had envisioned him as Mo in Inkheart so I was interested to see if he could really bring the story to life. I did enjoy the book after a while but felt he was pushing a bit hard on the character's voices. I have not heard any of his subsequent reads. I imagine there is a learning curve.


Jim Dale's sublime readings of JKRowling's Harry Potter books are the gold standard of audiobook-dom. Yes, I've read them but I found listening to them has highlighted new details and brought the books to life in a whole new way. Dale's performance sets the bar for charicterization and originality.


Anything read by Allan Corduner.
Corduner read Book one of Septimus Heap series, Magyk with such style and aplomb that I rushed to get the next book in audio form. I was disappointed to discover that Corduner did not read the other books in the series and I could not settle in to the second book at all until some time had passed.

I had been planning to read The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix so when I saw Corduner read them I was thrilled. Mister Monday was excellent. I have book 2 on the old mp3 player now.


The Joey Pigza books by Jack Gantos, read by the author are hilarious, poignant, touching, scream-out-loud funny. I hope you saw 7 Imp's excellent interview with Gantos during the Winter Blog Blast Tour.

I do not think anybody else but Gantos can read his books. I have still been unable to listen to Love Curse of the Rumbaughs because he did not read it. I think I recall the rep at FSG telling me that he had not initially wanted to let another person narrate. They should have listened to him.


Sometimes I just know that I will never get around to reading a book. Carl Hiassen's Hoot was on my "want to read" list but it just never seemed to make it to the top of the pile. I was very happy to find the audiobook and Chad Lowe does an outstanding job of bringing the story to life.

More to come... I'd like your suggestions too.


Additional audiobooks:

Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo by Greg Leitich Smith is an excellent audiobook. The narrators who read Elias, Shohei and Honoria are spot on. Their performances are so good but Recorded Books DOES NOT CREDIT THEM by name anywhere on the jacket or box. Unbelievable.

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14. Books at Bedtime: The Huron Carol and some Ho Ho Hos

We’re starting to count the days in our family to when school will break up for all of us… we’re looking forward to indulging in some good “book sessions”, when we can all snuggle up and take turns in reading piles of books to each other – old favorites and new.

Two very different books I’m looking forward to sharing with the boys this year are The Huron Christmas Carol illustrated by Ian Wallace and Santa Knows by husband and wife team Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith.

The Huron Carol takes its text from a carol which, as the name suggests, was originally written in the old Huron language in c. 1641, probably by Father Brébeuf, a French Jesuit The Huron Carolmissionary in what is now Ontario, Canada. Sung to the tune of a traditional French carol, it was translated into English in 1921, beginning “’Twas in the moon of wintertime”. This is the version which forms the text of this lovely book, although both the Huron and French words for one verse are given at the end, along with the tune. In it, the Christmas Story is set among the Huron Indians, so that, for example, “chiefs from far before him knelt/ with gifts of fox and beaver pelt”. Ian Wallace’s illustrations emphasise the cultural setting within the intimate space of a Huron longhouse, as well as through his sweeping depictions of the Canadian landscape filled with local wildlife. This book is a really special way to share the universality of the Christmas message, made relevant to a specific group of people by being placed into their own, familiar context.

Meanwhile, you just have to see the cover of Santa Knows to know that this book is going to be a fun

Santa Knows treat. Just look at those pyjamas! When it came out last year, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast said

This one would make a rousing read-aloud to the elementary-aged children at which it’s aimed

– I definitely agree: especially as that is just the age when the questions about whether Santa exists are starting to emerge. Let Alfie F. Snorklepuss’ experiences (what a glorious name!) be a warning to all those doubters out there! And just to add to the excitement, run to the end of this Cynsations post from a few days ago, where Cynthia Leitich Smith gives details of how to ask her for a signed “Santa Knows” bookplate.

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15. Audiobooks that charm

The month of May was such a busy month here in the entwood that actual reading time has been minimal but BookMoot has been listening to some excellent audiobooks.

We may not be taking driving vacations this year but there are rooms to toss, and closets to clean out and corners to excavate and (sob!) bookcases to weed. I find I stay at these unpleasant tasks longer when I have a great book to listen to.

Ahhh... summer.

Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo
by Greg Leitich Smith, Recorded Books, 2004

Three friends, a private middle school and a science fair.

As the school science fair approaches, seventh grader, Elias, lives in the shadow of his older brother's legendary science fair success. Eli is also dealing with his developing romantic feelings for his good friend Honoria. Honoria is determined to train piranhas to become vegetarians for her science project and she is attracted to Shohei who is totally unaware that he is the focus of her attentions. He is frustrated by his adoptive parents' intense focus on his Japanese heritage and their overreaching attempts to make sure he remains "in touch" with his cultural background. His own interest in the science fair is minimal, so, looking for an easy way out, he teams-up with Eli. His lack of effort spells disaster for their project which in turn, has terrible consequences for Elias.

The story is told in the first person by three main characters. Elias, Honoria and Shohei are wonderfully voiced by the actors in this audio version. My one regret is that Recorded Books, who produced the book, did credit the performers who so perfectly caught the tone and point of view of the three characters.

The story is full of humor. Greg translates that strange time that is middle school / junior high with sympathy and affection.

Great fun.

Lionboy by Zizou Corder, read by Simon Jones, Highbridge Audio, 2003

I know you've heard audiobook narrators who work so hard at different characters' voices that they seem to be about to strangle themselves with the microphone chord sometimes.
Audiobook performance is difficult, which makes Jim Dale's (Harry Potter) achievement even more extraordinary. In this production, Simon Jones's narration never gets in the way of the story. His expertise in this genre shines here.

Charlie Ashanti has a happy life. His scientist parents provide him with love and security. When they disappear under mysterious circumstances, Charlie uses the clues they leave behind and his gift for speaking the language of cats to trace their whereabouts.

His search takes him to the river's edge where he joins a circus which travels the rivers of Europe on a huge barge. The calliope music is of the circus is utterly beguiling and puts the listener on board the ship along with Charlie. He is taken on as the lionboy, the assistant to the sinister lion tamer. Keeping his ability to communicate with the lions, a secret is a challenge. He receives updates about his parents from cats at the various cities and towns where the circus performs. Charlie longs to free the circus lions from their captivity and continue the search for his parents but accomplishing an escape is dangerous. Then there is the problem of traveling through a city with a group of lions and not attracting unwanted attention.

Very original story with sequels to listen to.

Oh boy!!

Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica, read by Michele Santopietro, 2006

Why couldn't Santopietro read Twilight? I might have enjoyed it. She gives twelve year old Molly Parker's voice a freshness and optimism that works perfectly with the story.

Molly's mother has recently died from cancer and she has come to live with her mother's sister and family. She is not unhappy, she has a great friendship with Sam, a brilliant guy with whom she can share everything. Her dream is to have a relationship with her father, Josh Cameron who is a star player with the Boston Celtics. Living in England for most of her life, her mother had not told her the truth about her father's identity until she became ill.

YA novels are often about a girl yearning for a relationship with the guy of her dreams. In this story, they guy is her dad. Now Molly is on a quest to meet her father and hopefully enjoy a happy father-daughter relationship with him.

Lupica includes lots of behind-the-scenes details of the pro basketball world which ring true.

Sweet story !
Mike Lupica sure knows how to engage me with characters I really cared about.

I confess I have been somewhat reluctant to take up Charlie Higson's Young Bond books. I have such a fondness for my Alex Rider (by Anthony Horowitz, nicely read by Simon Prebble.)
As Alex is a "sort of" young James Bond-like character, I wondered if Higson's "James" would be distinct or a mere shadow of young Alex. I have not even bothered with the new incarnations of Bond as I prefer the original Fleming novels.

I was thrilled and happy to discover that SilverFin and Blood Fever were compelling and "didn't want to stop" listens for me. Nathaniel Parker (clicked on his website and shouted, "Oh, him! Inspector Lynley!) is an outstanding voice actor who shades each character with a distinct tone and cadence.

I enjoyed Siverfin but I loved Blood Fever. There is much here for the guys. Blood Fever teaches fishing techniques, explains the workings of the internal combustion engine and learning to drive a car.

One nice aspect of the stories, for those who insist that a book has to teach a lesson (not me) is that the loutish bullies who make life miserable for James at Eton, are redeemed and end up as friends with him.

There are sly references to the future career of 007 which fans will "get." I have Higson's third book downloaded and ready for listening.

I guess it is time to go toss the entlings' rooms now. I'm ready.

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