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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Juvenile, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 230
1. This summer, I read comics

I've been reading a lot of comics this summer, and it's the greatest.

I just finished Ms. Marvel Vol. 3: Crushed and the series continues to be fun, as was Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth. I love to read about girls kicking ass! (See also, Nimona) One thing I really appreciate about Rat Queens and Nimona is that it's fantasy kick-ass fun, but there's underlying basis of pain. It's not always there or the focus of the narrative, but it bubbles up to color the story in a way that's really compelling. (Plus, now I have an excuse to yell I'M A SHARK! and see who laughs--new bestie test)

Oh, and I also read Lumberjanes which I loved for it's kick-ass girls and silliness, but also its friendship and their long-suffering camp counselor. I love these girls as an ensemble and their relationships. FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX for reals.

Also in ongoing series... Fables Vol. 22: Farewell happened. The final Fairest, Fairest Vol. 5: The Clamour for Glamour comes out on Tuesday, but Fables is done. This is the series that turned me onto comics and my feelings about it ending are so bittersweet. I'm going to miss these characters and their stories and their lives and how Willingham played with meta-fiction and what happens when you put fictional characters in the real world. At the same time, the final volume was wonderful. I think it was a fitting tribute and end to the series and, in many ways, it was a farewell. It wrapped up the narrative arc nicely, left some loose ends, but not ones that will drive me batty, and let the characters say goodbye (sometimes very literally). I have been nervous lately because the last few volumes have been a bit of a blood bath, and there is some of that here, too, but... it's good. It's really, really good. My only complaint is that it's done and I very selfishly want more, more, more, more. (Also, I asked my friends at Secret Stacks what I should read to fill the Fables void, and they got Bill Willingham himself to answer and zomg.)

But also, I've been reading some new series!

I read the entirety of Y: The Last Man because Bellwether Friends did an episode about it. I am in love with Saga (which was also a Bellwether recommendation) which is also by Brian K Vaughn, so I thought I'd pick up all the Y before listening to their episode, so I'd be able to better understand. Y is the story of what happens when suddenly, all males (human and animal) drop dead. Except for Yorick and his monkey Ampersand. Science and governments want Yorick, but he just wants to get from New York to Australia where his girlfriend-maybe-fiance was when the gender-cide hit, but it also explores what happens when a gender dies. You get radical feminist movement burning sperm banks, countries that had higher gender equality do better than those who had more men in charge, and also a lot of people in deep morning. Plus little things-- it hit at rush hour so a lot of the highways are clogged with cars and what do you do with that many dead bodies? It was really interesting and good. I like the way it explored the different aspects of this new world as well as all the different theories people had for what caused it. (People have feelings about the ending. It wasn't the ending I necessarily wanted, but I think it was good for the story, if that makes sense. Fangirl Jennie was "eh" but literary critic Jennie was "oh, yes.") Also, let's talk Saga. I've read the four volumes that are out now and so good. It's about love and family and survival against the backdrop of intergalactic war! And their nanny is a ghost. (Basically, star-crossed lovers from opposite sides of this inter-galactic war have a kid and everyone wants them dead because there can't be proof that the two sides can get along and all they want to do is live and survive as a family, but always running puts strain on a relationship!) Also, let's just talk about how the romance novels are also political tracts wrapped in love story, because a romance reader, YES. There is meaning and metaphor and all the other trappings of HIGH LITERATURE in romance (and really, all genre) but it gets written off so often, but not here. That warms my heart.

I've also picked up the first four volumes of East of West. It's this story of a futuristic alternate history US where the country's fractured into several other countries and there's a religious cult and Four Horseman of the Apocalypse are reborn, except for Death, because he's left them for love and it all ties back to this religious cult and a prophesy and it's weird and not quite my usual thing, but really good at the same time.

Also for something amazing, but a little different than my usual fare, Secret Stacks also recommended I check out Pretty Deadly which is also about Death falling in love with a person. But this time it's Death's Daughter who's riding for revenge. And there's a girl in a feather cape and old man who travel from town to town to tell her story. It's hauntingly surreal and I cannot wait for more. (Please tell me there's more!)

What comics are you reading?

Books Provided by... my local library, except for Fables, which I bought.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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2. Meg Cabot's Royalty

Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

Wahoo! Princess Mia is back! It's a few years post-college and she's trying to juggle the antics of her grandmother and father, her charity work, and her royal commitments. Sadness though! Mr. Gianni (the math teacher her mom started dating in the first book) died a little bit before this book takes place. :(

The big press speculation is why hasn't Michael proposed yet, but hey! as you can probably guess by the title, he does! And then they have to deal with the headache of letting Grandmere anywhere near the wedding plans.

More complicating factors:

1. Her dad was arrested for driving his new race car (at race car speeds) down the highway
2. Her dad is going to lose the election for Prime Minister
3. Her dad has another child, who's been living out in Jersey that no one knew about.

Plus, Mia's usual insanity.

Honestly, if you like the Cabot, especially The Princess Diaries this is a good one to pick up. I love seeing Mia as an adult--she has really grown and matured while still being Mia and I'm excited that the new middle grade series will let us see where her life goes!

Speaking of the Middle Grade series, even if you don't read the rest of the series, I recommend reading From the Notebooks along with this book. There is MAJOR plot overlap, but it's from two different sides. I love the scenes where Mia is thinking "OMG, I've ruined this girl's life" and Olivia is thinking "OMG! THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!"

Olivia's track is also going to be very different than Mia's (how/why is a major spoiler so just trust me on this one) so I'm excited for the series in general.

Books Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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3. Port Chicago 50

I am a Cybils second round judge. I am currently reading the all the nominated books in a fun "armchair readalong" way with the first round judges. My reviews and opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the work of the committee.

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights Steve Sheinkin

During WWII, the armed forces were still segregated. Black men who signed up were subjected to segregated mess halls (sometimes eating the cold leftovers of their white counterparts) and barracks, and given the most menial jobs. They were often treated even worse when they were off base.

In the Navy, black sailors were only allowed to be mess attendants when on a ship. They weren’t eligible for promotion. At California’s Port Chicago, they had to load ammunition onto ships. Only black sailors had to do this and they were not given any training on how to properly handle explosives. Their white commanding officers took bets on which Divisions could load the most, creating a hurried and unsafe atmosphere.

On July 17th, 1944, there was an explosion. A small one, then a big one. 320 men died (202 were black men loading ammunition.) Another 390 were injured (mostly due to flying glass when the shock wave blew out windows.) The 1200 foot pier was gone, as were the 2 battle ships being loaded. No one’s entirely sure what happened or why, because anyone who saw it was killed immediately.

On August 9th, the black sailors, some still recovering from their injuries, were told to go back to work loading ammunition. 258 (out of 328) refused, saying they would obey any order but that one. On August 11th, facing mutiny charges, 208 returned to work. The remaining 50 were charged.

The trail was a racist farce and all were found guilty, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, followed by dishonorable discharge. In 1946 their sentences were commuted and eventually all were discharged with honorable conditions (which is better than dishonorable, but not honorable. You can get VA benefits, but not the GI Bill). In 1999, President Clinton pardoned one of the mutineers, but many did not want a pardon--they wanted their convictions overturned.

Today, all of them have passed on. All of them are still convicted of mutiny.

No one will be surprised to hear that once again Steve Sheinkin has written a riveting account of history. It is a great one for WWII or Black History projects, or anyone interested in injustice, legal dramas, or the armed forces. In true Sheinkin fashion, he pulls in many threads--American racism, the Navy and War Department’s unwillingness to challenge that status quo, the personal stories of many of the sailors involved, the story of what was actually happening, and the impact it had in larger society then and today.

One thing I found interesting--Thurgood Marshall is introduced as an NAACP lawyer, working throughout the war to help defend black armed service personnel from racist persecution and injustice. He watched the trial and foughtfor years to appeal. But, it never mentions what Marshall goes on to eventually do. (I mean, it’s not like we all grow up to be Supreme Court Justices.)

There are many photographs throughout the text (unfortunately, a few have been blown up too largely and are pixelated) and I love the trim size--even though it’s written a bit younger than younger than Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weaponor The Notorious Benedict Arnold: A True Story of Adventure, Heroism & Treachery, but the trim size should entice older readers to pick it up.

It’s a story that many have sadly forgotten, but Sheinkin’s powerful storytelling will hopefully tell this story to many more readers.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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4. Sisters

Sisters Raina Telgemeier

Raina, her sister Amara, her brother Will, and her mother are road-tripping to Colorado (her dad has to work and will fly out and meet them there.) Of course, Raina’s siblings drive her crazy and if she didn’t have her Walkman to drown them out, she’d go insane. The story alternates between the car trip and what happened before (Raina wishing for a sister, she and her sister fighting, the arrival of her brother, life in general in their cramped 2-bedroom apartment.)

As always, I love Telgemeier’s art and storytelling. I think the frame of the road trip works well. It’s also interesting because this focuses exclusively on her family, and as such, gives a different, more complex picture than the glimpses we saw in Smile. The other thing I liked was, when Raina and Amara reached their inevitable detente, they didn’t immediately become BFF. They gained a bit of understanding, but you know their relationship still wasn’t perfect.

Hilariously, I read this one a bit out-of-order. When I got it, I flipped to the middle just to kinda flip through it and I started reading. And then I got to the end, having only read the second half of the book. Then I had to go and read it again, but this time starting at the beginning.

It’s not my favorite of Telgemeier’s (she’s going to have a hard time topping Smile in my heart) but it’s still a great read.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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5. Martin Bridge: Out of Orbit

This review originally appeared in the sadly long defunct Edge of the Forest. I'm reprinting my last few reviews there so they're still available

Martin Bridge: Out of Orbit! Jessica Scott Kerrin, illustrated by Joseph Kelly

The latest volume in the adventures of Martin Bridge gives the reader another two tales about Martin, a sort of elementary-aged every-boy. In the first, Martin’s classmate Harper, is always telling outlandish lies that Martin’s friends actually believe—things like Harper is getting a jet pack bike or that his father is really a spy. Although it is not explored in the context of the story, Martin’s main annoyance with this is that Harper’s stories often steal attention away from Martin. However, we do explore why Harper tells the tales he does. In the end, Harper’s story-telling is as very useful skill to have.

In the second story, Martin gets hurt while trying to emulate his favorite superhero, Zip Rideout. This prompts much soul-searching as to why comic book heroes and TV characters never get hurt, although they are often involved in situations where injury is bound to happen. Luckily, the creator of Zip Rideout is coming to school, so Martin can ask him some very pointed questions.

Kelly’s black-and-white graphite and charcoal illustrations break up the text nicely and add to the story—especially when illustrating how Martin pogo-sticks out of his tree house.

Martin’s problems and achievements are ones that kids will easily be able to relate too. Although he learns some good life lessons, the stories do not read as didactic—they are fun and enjoyable. Sure to be a hit with boys and girls alike.

Book Provided by... Edge of the Forest, for review

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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6. Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue

Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue Tom Angleberger

When we last saw our origami alliance, fighting against the FunTime(™) menace, Rabbski had promised to “look into it” but it’s been weeks and nothing has changed. But this time, someone has taken the case file and given it to Principal Rabbski. With her own origami finger puppet.

Yes, Principal Rabbski IS Princess Leia (what?!). Whoever gave the case file to Rabbski knows that she did not force FunTime(™) on the school--she’s another victim, but whoever did it also knows that the case file is the only way for Rabbski to see that the Rebel Alliance isn’t fighting this just to fighting this, but to show they they have very real concerns and they’re trying to address in the most responsible way they can.

As we saw with Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, this is a series that continues to grow really well and is just getting consistently stronger, which I didn’t think possible, but bam! there it is. I also like how it explored the deeper issue. The kids (and I think most of target-audience readers) would see this thing as imposed by Rabbski, because she's the highest authority they see, but she answers to someone else, and it's a good lesson/reminder that when it comes to educational policy, not a lot of it is set at the school level. (Also, I LOVE the tweets from the actors in FunTime(™).)

Oh... coming out in a few weeks is Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus, the LAST book in the series.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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7. Girls who kill

By Kathleen M. Heide, Ph.D.

There has been a resurgence of interest in girls who kill, following the report of two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls who stabbed another girl of the same age 19 times on 31 May 2014. The girls reportedly had planned to kill their friend following a birthday sleepover to demonstrate their allegiance to a fictionalized Internet character known as Slender Man. Despite the horror and the apparent senseless nature of the attack, all three girls had some good fortune. 

Although the victim had been left for dead, she miraculously lived. Had one of the stab wounds been a millimeter closer to a major artery by the heart, the victim would have bled to death. The victim crawled from the woods towards the street and cried for help. Had she not had the will to live and the good fortune of a passerby who heard her cries and took immediate action, the two assailants would have been facing murder charges instead of attempted murder charges. Under today’s sentencing laws, these two 12-year-old girls if convicted of premeditated murder in adult court could have spent the rest of their lives in prison.

The story sparked national attention given the age and gender of the assailants and the viciousness of the act. Questions quickly followed: Are murders by girls on the rise? Do girls who commit lethal violence differ from boys?

I have been evaluating juvenile homicide offenders and analyzing murder arrest trends in the United States for 30 years. My analyses of over 40,000 case of juveniles (ages 6-17) arrested nationally for murder and non-negligent manslaughter provide convincing evidence that the involvement of girls does not show an increasing trend over the years. On the average, the proportion of juveniles arrested for murder who were female since the mid-1970s has been about 8%. Stated another way, 92% of kids under 18 who are arrested for murder are boys. Analyses of victims, weapons used, co-defendant status, and circumstances indicate that there are significant differences (not due to chance) between boys and girls arrested for murder.

Do Not Cross, Crime Scene, Uploaded by Diego Grez. CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Do Not Cross, Crime Scene, Uploaded by Diego Grez. CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Girls under 18 are significantly more likely than boys:

  • To kill intimate partners
  • To kill victims under age 5
  • To kill family members
  • To use a knife, personal weapon, or weapon other than a gun
  • To kill a female victim
  • To act alone
  • To be involved in a conflict-related killings (e.g., argument)

Boys under 18 are significantly more likely than girls:

  • To kill adolescents and adults
  • To kill strangers
  • To use a gun
  • To kill male victims
  • To be involved in crime-related killings
  • To be involved in gang-related killings
  • To use accomplices to kill

The Wisconsin stabbing brought attention once again to youth violence in the United States. While murders committed by juveniles under 18 have decreased substantially since 1993, when they reached record highs, it is no time for complacence. This tragic case underscores the importance of parents to be aware of their children’s activities and to monitor their Internet activities. While it is unknown what factors in concert propelled these girls to plot for months to kill their friend, one fact is known from their statements to the police: their belief in a homicidal mythical internet character was part of the near lethal equation.

Kathleen M. Heide, Ph.D. is a Professor of Criminology at the University of South Florida, Tampa, and author of Understanding Parricide: When Sons and Daughters Kill Parents (Oxford U. Press, 2013), Animal Cruelty: Pathway to Violence against People (Alta-Mira, 2004), Young Killers: The Challenge of Juvenile Homicide (Sage, 1999), and Why Kids Kill Parents: Child Abuse and Adolescent Homicide (Ohio State University Press, 1992).

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8. The Secret of the Fortune Wookie

The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee Tom Angleberger

It is a dark time at McQuarrie school--Dwight has transfered to Tippet Academy and taken Origami Yoda with him, leaving the kids at McQuarrie without his sage advice. Then Sara shows up with the Fortune Wookie, who's growls are translated into advice by Han Foldo. Dwight threw them down to her from his bedroom window, so Tommy and Kellan assume they're infused with some of the Origami Yoda's force. Still, they're on the case...

The Fortune Wookie gives good advice, but some of the truths the kids have face are painful. When investigating the Fortune Wookie, they stumble across another mystery--Dwight has turned totally normal. No more origami, no more weird sayings, totally and utterly normal (and kinda boring.) What gives?

Angleberger stays strong with this third installment of the Origami Yoda series. I'm a bit biased because I'm a total Han Solo girl and we get wonderful classic Solo lines sprinkled throughout the text. I also love that Sara gets full props and credit for knowing her Star Wars (the guys are all super impressed at her knowledge of minor characters. Also, she does an excellent Wookie growl.) AND AND AND AND AND! God bless Tom Angleberger for not giving the girl a Princess Leia origami. I mean, Princess Leia is AWESOME (how many diplomats do you know who can rock a blaster like that? PEW! PEW! PEW! PEW!) but Angleberger didn't give the girl and girl. It made my fangirl* heart swell to a new size.

I also really like how Darth Paper Strikes Back and Fortune Cookie stay funny while still tackling some big issues. I love how the McQuarrie kids accept Dwight as Dwight. And I"m very, very afraid for the next book. It's not as cliff hanger-y as Han being frozen and taken back to Jabba and Luke finding out that Vader is his father but... Dark times are coming. You may not be afraid but... you will be. You will be.

*as a fangirl of Star Wars and of Angleberger

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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9. The Serpent's Shadow

The Serpent's Shadow Rick Riordan

In this conclusion to the Kane Chronicles, Carter and Sadie have a desperate plan to save the world from Aphosis (the giant snake who wants to turn the world into a giant ball of chaos) but there's only a slim chance it will actually work and a rather large chance it will kill both of them in the process. But, first, there's a school dance to attend.

I continue to enjoy the dual narration between Sadie and Carter, especially with the asides and interjected comments to each other. I think this would work really well in audio and wish I had listened to this series instead of read them. I also like how Carter and Sadie are often on different missions, so you have multiple storylines to follow. It keeps the action a bit fresher and doesn't get bogged down in "and then we fought this random monster, and then we fought this demon, and then we fought this minor god, which can happen near the middle of his Greek/Roman books. Not that I don't LOVE them, but...

I think Riordan wraps the series up well (and props for only being 3 books!) but there are still some open doors, including hints at an Olympus crossover (But first, doesn't he have a Norse series in the works?)

Final Verdict: a good, strong conclusion to a fun series. If you've read the others, be sure to read this one, too.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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10. Ginny Davis

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff Jennifer Holm, illustrated by Elicia Cataldi

Ugh. How have I not reviewed this one yet? It's been a favorite for years. Ginny Davis is starting 7th grade, trying to navigate the waters of middle school. She's feuding with her best friend, hoping for a lead in ballet, and trying to keep her dog from eating her science project. Some things are big (her brother getting sent to military school, setting up her mom with the insurance salesman) but most are the minor dramas of the everyday (trying to get back the yellow sweater from your former best friend). Through school assignments, to-do lists, and IMs with her friends, we get a great sense of Ginny's voice.

This is also designed superbly well. It's full color and we don't really get any diary entries or conversation transcripts--this one's pure ephemera. When there are notes on the fridge, we see the fridge in the background. We can see the ever-increasing amount of magnets from the pizza delivery place.

It's a good story about the ups and downs of 7th grade and a super-easy handsell (just show them a random page spread.) It's also pretty funny. I especially like the comics Ginny's older brother draws (guest artist Matthew Holm of Babymouse fame) and the notes from "The Management" aka, Mom.

Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick: Ginny Davis's Year In Stuff Jennifer Holm, illustrated by Elicia Cataldi

So, there was a lot of buzz this summer that Holm had a new book coming out, but I was over the moon when it came in at the library and I saw that it was a sequel to Middle School is Worse than Meatloaf!

Ginny's back, this time tackling 8th grade and there are some MUCH BIGGER things happening this year. At the beginning of the book, the family is moving to a bigger house. Then Mom gets pregnant, Ginny tries out for cheer and gets a boyfriend. But after Mom quits her job to be a stay-at-home mom and Bob gets laid off and the baby comes really early and Ginny's grades start slipping...

I have two minor complaints--

1. WE WANT MORE GRANDPA JOE! You can never have enough Grandpa Joe. He's the nice old guy who sends you money for things your mom says you can't have-- everyone's dream grandpa. Also, very funny. MORE GRANDPA JOE.

2. It's not as long as the first one. Now, Holm doesn't short the story, it didn't have to be longer, BUT. I can't get enough of Ginny and her family (and that's the thing-- even those these books about Ginny and it's mostly her stuff, you really get to know and care about the rest of the family) and so I just want MORE MORE MORE MORE. (Yes, I'm greedy.)

A nice bonus on this one? There's a LOT of YA book love. And it's pretty subtle. Books that Ginny's reading (mostly about vampires) are part of the background and they're *excellent* choices. They're all great books that teens actually read on their own for fun. (Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith! Also, Babymouse Mad Scientist.;) ) Also, her English teacher ROCKS. They have to read classics and contemporary and he chooses AWESOME contemporary titles (Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins!) So yeah, good book love that's super subtle.

Another awesome bonus-- Ginny's romance. NO DRAMA. It's pretty awesome that way. Also, they're so nerdy together and aren't self-conscious about that. It's super-nice to see a romantic subplot without angst and drama.

With the BIG STUFF going on in this one, it's a bit heavier than the first one, but I really hope this isn't the last we've seen of Ginny.

Also, MAJOR MAJOR props to Elicia Castaldi. So much of this series is the design. A bad design would have killed the story. But this design is SO GOOD and it makes the story. It adds SO MUCH. And it just works SO WELL.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

1 Comments on Ginny Davis, last added: 10/2/2012
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11. Nothing but the Truth

Nothing But The Truth Avi

Lest we think that "books in stuff" is a new narrative technique, let's turn to a classic-- one I read when *I* was a tween.

Phillip is a high school freshman whose English grads are keeping him off the track team. Phil's convinced it's because his English teacher hates him. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact he doesn't try and disrupts class all the time. Trying to get transferred out of her homeroom, Phil hums along with the morning announcements playing of The National Anthem. Unfortunately, the rules state that students must stand as "silent and respectful attention" and so he's sent to the office. Given a pattern of behavior it escalates quickly. When his next door neighbor finds out, he uses it as part of his local election campaign and it quickly spirals into a national issue and no one's lives will be the same.

Told in memos, script-style dialogue, journal entries, speeches, newspaper articles, letters, phone messages, etc. The reader gets to see many sides of this story and draw their own conclusions about what really happened and who was at fault. Because of the documentary format, we also have much more information that any of the characters. We know why they do what they do, but we also know why their read of the situation is so incorrect. (And when it comes to why Phil's failing English, we get his teacher's true feelings on him, but also his answers to test questions.) Avi does a wonderful job of showing us the situtation through Phil's eyes (both in his journal entries and conversations with friends) but also how other people see the situation (conversations teachers have, the teacher's letters to her sister) but also some completely unbiased evidence (the test answer in question.)

I really liked this book when I first read it (when it first came out in 1991) and love it even more as an adult. (Partly because of life experience, partly because of the way politics and the news works today, it's just become more and more believable.)

It's heartbreaking and Phil is so infuriating (not as much as his father though. UGH HIS DAD.) This is a perfect book discussion book because there's so much there and so much in real life to tie it into.

There's a reason why it was a Newbery Honor. THere's a reason why it's still in print and still assigned reading in many schools.

Book Provided by... my local library for this rereading, but originally my parents bought it for me as part of my book order. Mmmmm... book order. I really miss book order. I can't wait until the Kung Fu Princess gets her book orders... They still do book orders, right?!

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

2 Comments on Nothing but the Truth, last added: 10/9/2012
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12. Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers

Kiki Strike: The Darkness Dwellers Kirsten Miller

First off, I need to offer a great big THANK YOU to all that is good in the universe for FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY giving us another Kiki Strike book. IT HAS BEEN FOREVER.

And, has the wait been worth it? Oh yes, yes it has.

Kiki is off to Pokrovia to claim her crown and renounce it, officially supporting the democracy that has sprung up. When she leaves, she leaves Ananka in charge of the Irregulars.

In New York, Ananka and Betty stumble across the L'Institut Beauregard, a finishing school for New York's finest families. Ananka is already aware of them--every year they turn more of her classmates in zombies, completely draining them of their interesting personalities.

Meanwhile, Kiki doesn't make it to Pokrovia-- she's been kidnapped in Paris, but happens to meet two interesting young men with very extensive knowledge of the catacombs. While Amelia Beauregard takes Betty to Paris to help investigate a mystery from WWII, and Kiki and her friends are investigating more recent disappearances, the Irregulars at home are figuring out why Oona's been banned from every shop in Chinatown and trying to defeat an evil pharmaceutical company. Of course, there's still that bit about Kiki's kidnapping and Pokrovia's future as a democratic nation.

I love, love, love how Betty really comes into her own in this one. None of the other irregulars really trust her, because she's the nicest of them. But when she's in Paris, she's more or less on her own and has to prove what she's made of, and she has to decide how she does it. It's really well done. Actually, there's a lot in this one about the dynamics of the group and their relationships with one another. It's been so long since the last one, I can't remember if that's normal or not. All I know is that I love it.

I also loved the exploration of another city's underground. I loved the change in location and mysteries and secrets of the Paris catacombs (which, unlike the underground city that the Irregulars frequent in New York, is actually real.) I also like how much takes place in the catacombs that the tourists don't get to see.

The history buff in my appreciates that the older mystery was just as important as the recent ones-- it's never too late to solve a mystery.

I am not sure how I feel about the cover redesign (they're rereleasing the others as well in the new style).

Fans will not be dissapointed. I can only hope/pray/wish that there is more, and it is coming soon.

ARC Provided by... a friend, who knows how much I love Kiki. (THANK YOU DAVID!!!)

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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13. Nonfiction Monday: Haunted Histories

Haunted Histories: Creepy Castles, Dark Dungeons, and Powerful Palaces by JH Everett, illustrated by Marilyn Scott-Waters.

I'm taking a break from the covering the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction longlist to bring you something else that I just read.

Virgil is a ghostorian-- a historian with a magic time-travel device that allows him to go to any place in any time and talk to ghosts to get a good sense of what really happened there.

He uses these powers to take us to many castles around the world to show how hard (and disgusting) life really was, especially for the many people who WEREN'T royalty, but still lived there.

In a lot of ways, this is very similar to the You Wouldn't Want to Be... series, but for a slightly older audience. The content isn't that older, but the trim size and presentation will make it appeal to readers who might dismiss the You Wouldn't Want to Be... books as looking too young.

It's a fun look at the dark and gritty side of castle life, focusing on why castles tended to exist in the first place-- fortresses to protect and defend during war time. It also spends a lot of time on dungeons and torture.

I'm not sure on the who "ghostorian" angle-- it wasn't played up a lot and so when it did happen, I was like "wait, what? OH YEAH! THAT!" I think they could have done A LOT more with that bit. Or cut it entirely.

I do really like that it covered castles outside of Europe. I also really liked the "funny" castles. Hellbrunn Water palace was a designed by the Prince Archbishop, and was a way for him to play a million water-based practical jokes on visitors.

It's not a book you'll quote in a research paper, but it is a fun book that may inspire you to pick up some more on the topic.

Today's Nonfiction Monday is over at Shelf-Employed.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

3 Comments on Nonfiction Monday: Haunted Histories, last added: 2/26/2013
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14. Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead

Lure of the Dead Joseph Delaney

In the 10th book of the Last Apprentice series, we take a break from dealing with the Fiend do deal with an issue closer to home. Apparently, a large number of Romanian dark creatures have settled just over the county border. With the destruction of the Spook's library, they're at more of a loss in how to deal with them, as the Spook's notes and research into these spirits is long gone.

Yes, finally, we have a vampire, but these aren't sparkly hot guys. These are horrible, disgusting creatures that provide some the biggest danger we've seen so far.

We also get some horrible information about what Tom has to do next.

In ways, it's a place holder book. I do like that we get non-English creatures and there's the interesting twist of not having to travel to get them. We also really see how much the Spook has aged, and how Tom's apprenticeship is starting to come to an end, how he will soon be a Spook in his own right.

I still love this series (even if I'm a book behind) and OMG YOU GUYS!!! Did you see the movie comes out next fall? With JEFF BRIDGES as the spook? I'm excited, but getting nervous. Mother Malkin's a bit too pretty. And WTF is with this: "Based on the young-adult novel The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney,Seventh Son casts Bridges as Master John Gregory, a "Spook" who imprisoned the evil witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) centuries before." CENTURIES? Um, no. Spook's not THAT old! We'll see.

In the meantime, I'm going to curl up with the next book, Slither, which looks like an interesting departure. And, of course, counting down the days until September's release of I Am Alice.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

1 Comments on Last Apprentice: Lure of the Dead, last added: 3/7/2013
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15. Nonfiction Monday: Mighty Mars Rovers

The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity Elizabeth Rusch

I'm back looking at more the books on YALSA's Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults long-list.

This is another great addition to the always excellent Scientists in the Field series. Steven Squyres is a geologist who wanted to study the rocks on Mars. He came up with the idea to send a robotic geologist in his place. The Mars Rovers went up in 2003. Spirit and Opportunity were supposed to last about 3 months. They lasted for years. Opportunity is *still* going and doing science.

I really enjoyed the way the book follows the Rovers and the team on Earth. It does a great job of showing how the scientists on the ground had to often quickly build a "fake Mars" to figure out if there was a way they could get a rover out a jam-- up a hill, or out of a sand dune. It's also so well that I almost cried when Spirit went quiet. No little robot who's lasted years longer than you should, don't die!

It also does a great job of explaining why this type of exploration is important and why we're so obsessed with studying Mars.

You can follow the Mars Rovers on NASA's website.

Update: I forgot to link to today's Nonfiction Monday roundup! It's at Perogie's and Gyoza.

Book Provided by... the publisher, for award consideration.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

2 Comments on Nonfiction Monday: Mighty Mars Rovers, last added: 3/20/2013
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16. Lulu

Hilary McKay has a great new early chapter book series out.

Lulu and the Duck in the Park

Lulu is known for animals. The rule in Lulu's house is "The more the merrier, as long as Lulu cleans up after them!"

Every week, Lulu's class goes to the local pool for swimming and walks back to school through the park, where they take a small break. The kids love their time at the park, sitting by the pond. Lulu especially loves the area known as "duck row" where many ducks have made their nests under the bushes. This week, two dogs get loose and scare all the ducks. In the process, many of the nests and their eggs get smashed. Lulu notices one egg left unbroken, rolling away, so she scoops it up and takes it back to school.

Mrs. XXX has just instituted a rule saying that the kids aren't allowed animals in class, so Lulu has to keep the egg hidden, and safe, and warm, but what will she do when it starts to hatch?

Lulu: Lulu and the Dog from the Sea

When Lulu and her family go on vacation, she sees a dog that seems to come from the sea. Everyone know town knows about the dog from the sea-- he's the reason you have to take your trash can inside the house at night. Stealing hot dogs from the hot dog stand an understandable thing for a dog to do. Stealing (and eating!) a shovel (the most expensive, nicest shovel) from the postcard stand? That dog is a nuisance!, but the dog catchers can't get him.

Lulu wants to get to know the dog from the sea, so she breaks all the rules to lure him closer, to get to know him. I mean, the more the merrier, right? But another hamster or rabbit is one thing-- can Lulu really handle another dog?


I was a little apprehensive of this series-- I love McKay's Casson family books, so there were high expectations going into this-- could she maintain the same level of awesome for an early chapter book?

Short answer--yes.

I love Lulu's relationship with her cousin Mellie, especially because they don't always enjoy the same things or understand each other. I like how there's more to Lulu than animals (such as jumping off the swings at the highest point possible) but everyone remembers the animals.

As an adult reader, I love the adults. They're done with enough comic timing to make kids laugh, but adult readers will understand where the book adults are coming from and with sympathize. It's also the little touches-- Lulu's mom brings a book for every day of their vacation, plus War and Peace, just in case.

I loved a scene in the first book when Lulu's teacher tries to read the kids Harry Potter but they keep interrupting to tell her that that's not right, because that's not how the movie was, and that she was doing the voices wrong. McKay has an excellent touch for the small details of life.

This is an excellent series, up there with Clementine.

Come back tomorrow, where I'll actually be interviewing Ms. McKay! Squee! So exciting! Also, a giveaway!

Books Provided by... the publisher for blog review and book tour stop.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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17. Popularity Papers: Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang

The Popularity Papers: The Awesomely Awful Melodies of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang Amy Ignatow

Lydia and Julie are back! This time, Lydia convinces Julie that they need to start a rock band. Julie makes Lydia sign a contract saying that this is not one of Lydia’s popularity schemes. First, they have to learn how to play some instruments (hilarity ensues) Roland’s in the band. Jane manages to worm her way in, too (drama ensues) and then… they have to play some shows. Even though they’re not that good. In fact, they’re horrible (more hilarity ensues.)

Things I loved about this book: Jane and Chuck break up, and Chuck’s like “Hey Lydia” and Lydia doesn’t fall for it. She’s pretty firm in that she doesn’t want to be friends with him after what happened in the last book and how he just ditched her for Jane. Lydia knows she’s worth more than that, and she’s not taking any less.

Also, their lyrics are hysterically awful.

AND OMG MELODY! Lydia’s older sister has always been an odd voice of reason, coming from an angry goth girl. At the end of the last book, we are told that something MAJOR happened and we finally get to see it. I love the new Melody. I like the glimpses we get of who she is based on what *hasn’t* changed.

Things I love about this series that haven’t changed: Lydia and Julie are still awesome. I love the full color comic/word novel hybrid. I love their friends, especially Roland and Jen.

But most of all, I love Julie’s dads. They’re so perfectly wonderful parents while being horribly embarrassing at the same time.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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18. Fun at the Lunch Table

©Lesley Breen Withrow

It's that time of year again...back to school! My daughter just started second grade so we are getting used to the new routines, new teacher and new classmates. She's loving it so far, which makes me so happy. I always remember the lunch table as being so much fun when I was a kid. Maybe it was because I got to see some of my friends who weren't in my class but I figure it was most likely because I new that recess was coming up soon. Gotta love recess! Here's to another great school year!

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19. Interview with Holly Schindler

As part of her blog tour for The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, Holly Schindler is stopping by to talk to us about her book, writing, and other things!

Your previous novels have been YA-- what's the difference between writing YA and MG and why did you make the switch?

Actually, I started writing YA and MG at the same time. A bit of backstory: I got my master’s in the spring of ’01, and was encouraged to devote full-time attention to getting my writing career off the ground. I still wanted to do my part to pay my own bills, though, so I started teaching music lessons in the afternoons. And I was shocked at how familiar those kids seemed—as familiar as the kids I’d known when I was in school! They actually inspired me to try my hand at writing in the juvenile market; I dove in headfirst, trying both MG and YA at the same time. (The first books I published were YA, but I’d been writing MG all along as well.)

The main difference is that your characters have different abilities, which changes your plot to some extent. Something as simple as the ability to drive can change your book dramatically; a teen has access to a car, so they can go literally anywhere. An MG character has a bike—their “backyard” is much smaller than a teen’s. It changes the shape of the book.

Librarians are always on the look out for books with diversity--especially stories that feature characters of color that aren't about race, so it's worth mentioning that your main character Auggie and the mean girl, Victoria, are both African-American. However, this fact is very subtly coded in the text (and one reference to Auggie feeling like her skin looked like mud while Victoria's was fine imported chocolate) so readers might miss it. Can you talk a bit about diversity in middle grade lit, why you made your characters African-American, and why you wrote it the way you did?

My YAs began with concepts: in A Blue So Dark, I played with the idea of mental illness and creativity being linked; in Playing Hurt, I explored learning the difference between loving someone and being IN love. But THE JUNCTION began with a figure—Grampa Gus. I saw him as clearly as I’ve seen anyone in my life. When I first envisioned him, he was African American. But as I drafted the book, I knew I wanted a neighborhood to look every bit as diverse as the figures in Auggie’s yard. I wanted to show the different faces who were all in the same boat.

Your book deals with a lot of heavier topics--class, beauty, eminent domain, changing friendships, and missing parents, and deals with them well, but it's not a heavy book. Why were these issues important for you to discuss and what was your process for dealing with them without making the story a total bummer?

It’s funny—early critique of the book when I was attempting to shop it was that the original beginning chapters were a bummer. (I certainly didn’t think so, but I did go back and rework those opening chapters several times—even after the book was acquired—in order to make them feel lighter.) The trick is pulling the reader in early on so that they know it’ll be a delight to come to your book—not something they dread! You want to draw a reader back, make sure they will finish your book, be hungry for another read.

If you had Auggie's artistic talent what changes would you make to your house? (Personally, I'm all about colored glass in my windows!)

I’m with you on the colored glass! And the sidewalk—I’d love that, too.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself when you were Auggie's age, what would your advice be?

Never, never, never be afraid to say what you think. Even when it goes against what everyone else is saying or doing.

What are you working on now?

My next MG—and my next YA, Feral, which releases on August 26! FERAL is my first thriller:

It’s too late for you. You’re dead.

Those words float through Claire Cain’s head as she lies broken and barely alive after a brutal beating. And the words continue to haunt her months later, in the relentless, terrifying nightmares that plague her sleep. So when her father is offered a teaching sabbatical in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out of Chicago, away from the things that remind her of what she went through, will offer a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire quickly realizes something is wrong—the town is brimming with hidden dangers and overrun by feral cats. And her fears are confirmed when a popular high school girl, Serena Sims, is suddenly found dead in the icy woods behind the school. While everyone is quick to say Serena died in an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it—for she was the one who found Serena, battered and most certainly dead, surrounded by the town’s feral cats.

Now Claire vows to learn the truth about what happened, but the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to discovering a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley. . . .

With an eerie setting and heart-stopping twists and turns, Holly Schindler weaves a gripping story that will make you question everything you think you know.

What are you currently reading?

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing

What are you currently watching?

RAKE. THE AMERICANS. (Not really kid-friendly, eh?)

What are you currently listening to?

The SteelDrivers. Will Hoge (he’s my favorite, actually).

Thanks for stopping by Holly!

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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20. Junction of Sunshine and Lucky

The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky Holly Schindler

Auggie likes her neighborhood and going to the dump with her Grandpa Gus, a trash hauler. But her school has closed down, and she and her friends have to go to a different one, in a neighborhood with a lot more money. Suddenly, the fact that Auggie and her friends don't have new things is a big deal. Suddenly Auggie's best friend would rather spend time with Victoria, who sneers at Auggie and Grandpa every chance she can. Victoria's father is on the town council and he's started the House Beautification Committee and everyone has to comply. Auggie has some grand ideas to make her house beautiful, but not everyone agrees with her idea of beauty.

I haven't read any middle grade in a while--my time on Outstanding Books for the College Bound really focused my reading on teen and adult, mostly adult, titles. This was a great re-introduction to the age range. Schindler really captures a lot of Auggie's confusion and the delicate politics of a 5th-grade classroom and changing friendships. I loved Auggie's voice and the brave face she put on. There is A LOT going on under the surface of this story, and some very BIG ISSUES are touched on--class divide between Auggie's neighborhood and the rest of town, eminent domain (the House Beautification Committee will never be happy with Auggie's neighborhood for spoiler-y reasons), the fact that Auggie lives with her Grandpa while her mom is out in California becoming a star. But despite these big issues, it's not a downer book. The story is told through Auggie's voice, and a lot is about her artistic vision for making her house beautiful, making it into its own work of art.

Also, I should note, Auggie's town is very diverse and Schindler writes race with a very sublte hand. Auggie and the mean girl, Victoria, are both African-American. But race doesn't play a role in the story.

Book Provided by... the author, for inclusion in her blog tour.

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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21. Attack of Jabba the Puppett

Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett: An Origami Yoda Book Tom Angleberger

The Fun Time Menace has fully descended on McQuarrie Middle School. All electives have been cancelled and the kids are instead being forced to watch horrible videos (featuring rapping calculators) teach them how to do basic math they already understand.

A Rebel Alliance is needed.

There are a ton of new origami Star Wars characters introduced in this one as Tommy & Co. recruit members to their cause to get rid of FunTime. They’re smart about it--they use math to know how to throw the test to show that FunTime wasn’t effective--if X number of kids fail, then they can get rid of it for next year. They also find ways to work some of their missing electives back in.

The problem is that even though the kids are actually being rather reasonable, Principal Rabbski’s not really listening to them, and they’ll need help from some very unexpected places to get their point across.

I really like the turn the series took. It’s about a much bigger issue than just one student or one piece of maybe magical origami. It’s an entire school movement, and it tackles so many issues we face in education today-- the FunTime menace isn’t real, but it is. (*cough* AR *cough*) We put so much emphasis on test scores, that’s we’ve opened a market for people to cash in without any real benefit to the schools and students and this book really looks at this, in a hilarious manner.

I also really liked how Dwight chose each character for the different kids in the alliance. Much like he showed with the original Origami Yoda, Dwight notices things about people and knows how to nudge them in the right directions.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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22. Sisters Grimm: Council of Mirrors

The Council of Mirrors Michael Buckley

Time to wrap up the Everafter War and say goodbye to the Grimm family-- this is the LAST book in the fantastic Sisters Grimm series. As such, it's spoiler-rific for earlier books in the series.

Mirror has taken control of Granny's body and is trying to get through the barrier. Ferryport Landing has been ransacked, looted, and reduced to little more than rubble. Uncle Jake is crazed with grief. The remaining mirrors can see only one future where the Grimms are victorious, and it involves Daphne forming a coven and Sabrina leading an army.

Sabrina's excited to be taken seriously, but she has to earn the mantle of responsibility and not just run from it.

Plus, zombie chipmunks and the end to the craziest love story ever.

A wonderful end to a wonderful series. Puck remains a perennial favorite. I love that he's the one that gives Sabrina the tough words she needs to hear to lead her army. I also enjoyed Bunny's backstory, which sheds a ton of new light on her character and motivations. I find Atticus problematic (in that way that violence against women has become a convenient short hand for "bad guy").

But, overall, a very fitting end to this series. I especially like the double epilogue.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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23. Poetry Friday: The Wild Book

The Wild Book Margarita Engle

Homework Fear

The teacher at school
smiles, but she's too busy
to give me extra help,
so later, at home,
Mama tries to teach me.

She reminds me
to go oh-so-slowly
and take my time.
There is no hurry.
THe heavy book
will not rise up
and fly away.

When I scramble the sneaky letters
b and d, or the even trickier ones
r and l, Mama helps me learn
how to picture
the sep--a--rate
of each mys--te--ri--ous
Still, it's not easy
to go so
S l o w l y.

I have to keep
warning myself
over and over
that whenever I try
to read too quickly,
my clumsy patience
flips over
and tumbles,
then falls...


The doctor hisses Fefa's diagnosis like a curse-- word blindness*. She'll never read, or write. It's why she hates school so much, why the other kids taunt her when she has to read OUT LOUD.

But Fefa's mother has the heart of poet and doesn't accept the prognosis. She gives Fefa a blank book (one of the most terrifying things Fefa has seen) for her to fill with words as she gets them, slowly.

Fefa deals with the bullying and taunts of her classmates and siblings and slowly fills her book and slowly learns to detangle the letters.

Y'all know I'm a huge Engle fan. I'm most familiar with her YA stuff, but this one is more middle grade. There's a lot less politics and history**, as the main focus is Fefa's struggle with the written word. It's based on Engle's own grandmother and the stories she told of her own struggle with dyslexia.

Of course, one of the things that I like so much about Engle is how she weaves stories around Cuban history, so this wasn't my favorite one of hers. Also, there's only one narrator, while I'm used to her work being told in multiple voices. THAT SAID, it's still really good.

I like how Engle works with free verse and structure in this one to really capture Fefa's voice, especially when sounding words out and trying to figure out syllables. It's one that younger readers will enjoy and will cause them to seek out more of her work.

Today's Poetry Friday Round-up is over at... A Teaching Life. Be sure to check it out!

*Apparently, this is actually what they used to call dyslexia.

**Although it is set in 1912 Cuba and there is still some historical drama, it's just not the focus like it is in her other work.

Book Provided by... my local library

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

24. Nonfiction Monday: You Just Can't Help It

You Just Can't Help It!: Your Guide to the Wild and Wacky World of Human Behavior Jeff Szpirglas, illustrated by Josh Holinaty

This is a very fun introduction to the science behind human behavior. It covers a wide variety of topics, from the effect color has on you to birth order. From dreaming to spacing out. The reader gets just enough explanation for it to make sense, but just short blurbs on each thing.

Each page spread is full of graphics and color that make this a great book for reluctant readers or one that's easy to dip in and out out. It's the design that really sold this book for me. The short blurbs of information, that all relate to each other so the reader gets a more complete picture, makes some difficult concepts much easier to understand. Coupled with fun pictures, lots of pictures, and a great use of white space, really make this book an easy sell to all sorts of readers. All of this is done without diluting the information presented.

Very fun, and very interesting, it's a wonderful introduction to human behavior, psychology, and biology that kids will love to read.

Today's Nonfiction Monday roundup is over at Perogies and Gyoza. Be sure to check it out!

Book Provided by... the publisher, for Cybils consideration

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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25. Nonfiction Monday: So You Thought You Couldn't Cut It

So You Thought You Couldn't Cut It, A Beginner's Guide to Wood Carving Jim Calder with Jen Coate

Jim Calder is a Master Carver who teaches workshops to adults and kids using his triangle method to carve a face. While Carter usually carves wood, in his workshops and this book, he uses a sweet potato-- it's the right size, easier for beginners to cut through, and when it dries out and looks a lot like wood.

Steps are clearly explained and each step is accompanied by a large, clear, color picture showing Calder's method. I didn't try to carve a sweet potato, so I can't say for sure, but the book makes it look pretty straightforward and do-able. If I had proper carving knives, I might buy a sweet potato and try it out, but I don't have the right tools, so, alas.

An extra exciting part about this book is Jen Coate. This book was published by the Young Writer's Foundation, which mentors writers in K-12, so it's pretty cool that a high school student was paired with Calder and wrote this book.

Today's Nonfiction Monday is hosted over at Jean Little Library.

Book Provided by... the publisher for Cybils consideration

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

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