Thursday, December 30, 2010

Midway Monkey Madness by Sarah Hines Stephens

In this installment of a new series, DC Super Pets, Beppo is a Super-Monkey from the same planet as Superman.  He is at a carnvial enjoying a Ferris wheel ride when he hears screams from below and spots the evil ape Gorilla Grodd freeing the wild animals from their cages.  Beppo flies into action to get the animals back in their cages to protect all the people at the carnival.  His friends the Wonder Twins and their monkey help in the fight.  Reluctant readers will be drawn to the story with it's colorful illustrations, chapter headings and occassional font colors.  Beppo's expressions capture his feelings throughout the book.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Netgalley.  Midway Monkey Madness will be published by Capstone on January 1,
2011 in hardcover and paperback.

Kylie Jean : Hoop Queen by Marci Peschke

In Hoop Queen, Kylie Jean joins a basketball team and struggles with learning to dribble and shoot free throws.  Her grandfather, the coach of the team is patient and encouraging.  Kylie Jean is determined to win a free throw contest and the title  Little Dribbler Queen.   In order to win she needs to not only have a lot of free throws go in the basket but she also needs to get donation pledeges.  She goes after pledges and practices shot after shot.

As stated in my review of Kylie Jean : Drama Queen  (for review click here) Kylie Jean is a welcome addition to easy chapter books for girls.  Once again the pictures add a cute dimension to the story.  Kylie Jean is a likeable character as are her friends and family.  Recommended for fans of Junie. B., Judy  Moody, and girls looking for a sports story.  These two titles in addition to more are being published January 1, 2011 by Capstone.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Netgalley.  Available in hardcover and paperback.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Kylie Jean : Drama Queen by Marci Peschke

In "Drama Queen," Kylie Jean introduces us to her family, her dog Ugly Brother and friends and tells us she wants to be a beauty queen.  When she learns that her class is going to be putting on the play Alice in Wonderland, Kylie Jean is determined to be the Queen of Hearts so she can wear a crown.  However, the mean new girl, Paula, also wants the same part.  Kylie Jean is a very funny girl and you can't help but like her.  The writing is so inviting and the illustrations add just enough pizazz and sparkle to help move the story along.  Kylie Jean's relationships with her family, bus driver and friends are realistic but her relationship with Ugly Brother is priceless. When Kylie Jean dons a wig to rehearse her part in Alice in Wonderland, Ugly Brother is scared of her.  When she asks him a question and he barks twice, that means "yes."  The author infuses the story with lots of theatre terminology including stagehand, understudy, and break-a-leg and readers will learn about putting a play on as well as enjoy a lovely story.

Kylie Jean is a new series and will become poplular among young girls right away.  Three other titles are being published simultaneously and all four will be in hardcover and paperback.  I read "Drama Queen" as an ebook arc courtesy of Netgalley and the publisher Capstone and it will be available January 4, 2011.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb

What Happened on Fox Street
Living on Fox Street reminds me of living in an apartment building growing up in New York City.  Everyone knows everyone else and watches out for them too.
There are 10 houses on Fox Street and Mo, her sister the "wild child" Dottie and her dad live in one.  Mo is responsible for watching Dottie most of the time while dad is working.  Mo's best friend Mercedes spends summers across the street with her grandma, Da although with Da's diabetes and Mercedes' new stepdad this could be the last summer.

Much happens this summer on Fox Street.  Mo is always searching for signs of a fox in the ravine behind the house.  The old lady across the street starts paying attention to the girls and dad receives an offer to sell his house.  Halfway through the book I thought of "Because of Winn-Dixie," one of my favorite books.  "What Happened on Fox Street" has many similarities, widowed dad, wonderful neighbors, a rainstorm and a lot of love.  It is an emotional roller coaster ride inside a child's mind but an exhilarating one and a wonderful one.  Though Mo and Dottie fight a lot, though the dad seems drowning in missing his wife, while Fox Street seems to be heading in a different direction in the future Tricia Springstubb works magic in making us root for Mo and her family and friends and trust in her that there will be happy (endings) beginnings for all.  A great piece of contemporary literature.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie

Katniss in THE HUNGER GAMES.  Katna in GRACELING.  Katarina (Kat) in THE HEIST SOCIETY.  Claudia in INCARCERON.  And now, Cassia joins the ranks of strong, intelligent and brave young women.

Cassia lives in a dystopian society. Couples are "matched," told how many children they will have, where they will work, what they eat, and when they die.  In a very rare situation Cassia is matched with a childhood friend, Xander and all seems perfect until she begins to develop feelings for another boy she has grown up with, Ky.  Cassia and Ky slowly fall in love and together they share Ky's family story, poetry, and writing (Ky teaches Cassia as writing has been replaced with computerized scribes.)  The story moves slow as the relationship blossoms and pieces of a puzzle begin to be laid out and as you near the end of the book you know it will have to continue in a sequel.  While I do wish it was a stand alone book, I will wait a year for CROSSED, the sequel and look forward to reuniting with Xander, Ky and Cassia.

MATCHED has been compared to THE GIVER and is recommended for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy.  I concur.  I recommend it for tweens and teens (no underage drinking or promiscuity.)
While some books don't always live up to the hype, MATCHED is one that did.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ruby Valentine Saves the Day by Laurie Friedman

Publisher's description : "It's Valentine's Day and Ruby won't let anything spoil the celebration! In this follow-up to the popular Love, Ruby Valentine, Ruby's favorite day of the year rolls around again, and she and Lovebird work feverishly to plan the perfect party for everyone in Heartland. But when Valentine's Day arrives, an unexpected snowstorm threatens to ruin all of Ruby's plans. Will Ruby find a way to save the day, or will everyone in Heartland have to wait until next year to celebrate?"

With charming colorful pictures and a great read aloud rhythm this book is destined to become a favorite Valentine's Day read. I can just hear the kids in my library cracking up as Ruby and Lovebird head down the hill losing their goodies along the way. A lot of times Valentine's books are too pink and mushy for boys but this one will please them too! Read as an ebook arc courtesy of netgalley. Published by Lerner Publisher Group.

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Not Santa by Jonathan Allen

This is one of those Christmas books I like to read aloud annually in my school library. Recently I read it to a class of 2nd and 3rd graders and they absolutely adored it. The story is fun to read, the illustrations wonderful and the faces of the kids listening priceless. Recommended for babes through 3rd grade."I'm Not Santa!"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

"Ninth Ward" is a hauntingly beautiful book. Lanesha is a 12 year-old girl raised by the mid-wife who helped birth her as her mom died shortly after she was born. The first part of the book describes the love and affection between Mama Ya-Ya and and lets us know that between Mama Ya-Ya's educating Lanesha and school Lanesha is a very smart girl. Lanesha sees ghosts (including her mother) and Mama Ya-Ya sees and feels things gives the book a sort of mystical quality. The rest of the book deals with getting prepared for Hurricane Katrina and how Lanesha manages to survive the horrific storm.

If I was in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina I would have liked to be with Lanesha. She draws on everything she has learned from math to physics to cooking. Her love for Mama Ya-Ya and her feelings for her friend TaShon and their dog Spot would make anyone want to be on her team. The images of the New Orleans destruction are vivid and heart wrenching but still this book is a wonderful book for youngsters. Lanesha is a strong female character and I for one would love to hear more of her story.
Recommended for strong 3rd grade readers and above.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham

Teddy has moved into a new house in a new town and since school doesn't start for a month his mother sends him out to make new friends. As he meets boys his age he realizes something creepy is going on. The boys are not actually alive or living in the present day. A tree, suffering from the effects of nuclear waste is using the boys for energy and it wants Teddy as it's next victim. This is an adventure, fantasy and mystery all rolled into one scary book perfect for boys and reluctant readers. Fans of DEMONKEEPER and GOBLINS! will devour this one up.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan illustrated by Peter Sis

From a young age Neftali Reyes loved to read and write and would see and hear words everywhere. He was a collector of objects of nature and a daydreamer and when caught by his father would be ridiculed and verbally abused. After his father burned Neftali's entire spectrum of written words he relized in order to be a writer he'd need to change his name and so gave birth to Pablo Neruda. This is a fictionalized biography of one of the world's best known poets and it is a beautiful book with lovely illustrations.

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter

Set in England this book is about the three Hardscrabble children who lost their mother 5 years ago when she disappeared. One sibling narrates the story although he/she never admits to which one it is. The dad sends the kids to visit with a cousin in London but she is not there. And so begins an adventure in which they travel to a seaside town, stay in a castle, face a dragon and try to solve a mystery as it unwinds right before them. While I did enjoy it I did not love THE KNEEBONE BOY. However, it will appeal to fans of Lemony Snicket and other eclectic fantasy or adventure books.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

Reading BINK & GOLLIE made me smile. When I sat down to read it I didn't know what to expect. The book is a graphic novel and easy chapter book rolled into one and yet so much more. Bink & Gollie show that with compromise true friendship survives. I loved the b & w illustrations with splashes of color and the humorous text filled with luscious vocabulary. Children will want to use their gray matter for adventures of their own.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bless This Mouse by Lois Lowry

Bless This MouseI am afraid of mice. Reading books about mice is not my favorite thing. So when I started reading BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry I had one eye closed. However, while reading this book I actually found myself smiling and laughing. Hildegarde, the mistress mouse is an intelligent leader of the 200+ mice that live in the church. When the Great X is planned (extermination) she works out a plan to save every last mouse. At moments it is possible to forget these are mice in the story as their vocabulary is exemplary, their bravery is commendable and their story is charming. Lois Lowry never ceases to amaze me. Eric Rohmann's illustrations bring Lowry's words to life. Read as an e-book arc courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley so artwork was not final. Book will be published March 21, 2011.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Long Walk to Water : Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

A LONG WALK TO WATER by Linda Sue Park is based on a true story and what an incredible story it is. In 1985, Salva, an 11 year-old boy in Sudan fleas his home village when it is attacked and walks through desert and lion country, crosses a crocodile filled river and spends years in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. Laced between Salva's travels is Nya's story set in Sudan in 2008. Just as riveting we see Nya walk each day for 8 hours to bring water back to her home. Both stories are haunting and beautiful and I could not put this (e)book down. Both Salva and Nya are strong and resilient. It is amazing to me how much I can learn from a children's historical fiction book. Read as an advanced readers copy from netgalley I have ordered 2 copies for my school library.

View video with author and Salva.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Year Money Grew on Trees by Aaron Hawkins

In THE YEAR MONEY GREW ON TREES by Aaron Hawkins Jackson accomplishes more than most teens could ever imagine possible. Jackson is challenged by his next door neighbor to monetize the apple orchard which has been ignored since her husband passed away and prove he is the true heir. Although she has swindled him before Jackson is determined to make the $8000 she wants plus a profit to share with his sisters and cousins for helping him. With a little help from a library book, a Sunday school teacher, a charge card at the local supply store, his dad and uncle, Jackson and his work crew spend a year pruning, fertilizing, spraying, picking and selling. Will Jackson succeed and inherit the orchard? You'll have to read this book to find out. Hawkins has written a wonderful book where kids really shine while adults take a back seat. Read as an e-book arc through (without illustrations).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth by Sandra Dutton

It's 1988 in Ohio and Mary Mae is an elementary school student who is curious about everything. She enjoys studying the fossils she and her classmates dig up around town. She loves playing the guitar with her great-grandmother and she enjoys asking questions about the Bible. However, her Christian mom believes the Bible is all a good Christian girl needs to learn and so pulls Mary Mae out of school to homeschool, throws away the fossil collection and takes the guitar away. In MARY MAE AND THE GOSPEL TRUTH two worlds collide but with the help of granny and the clergy there just may be a blending of the two. A thought provoking read.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just Grace and the Terrible Tutu by Charise Mericle Harper

Just Grace is back in JUST GRACE AND THE TERRIBLE TUTU and I hope she never goes away. Charise Mericle Harper knows young girls and it shows beautifully. Mimi, Grace's best friend is going to be getting a sister. Lily, a 4 year-old moves in next door and immediately takes to Grace but is shy around Mimi. Grace comes up with a plan to get Lily to like Mimi. Grace is a strong personality and I would have liked her as my friend growing up. This is a wonderful read for young girls and it will be made part of my library collection in January, 2011. Read as an e-book courtesy of Netgalley and it will be published by Houghton Mifflin.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

Karen Cushman has written another fantastic book in ALCHEMY AND MEGGY SWANN Meggy is summoned to London by her father who abandoned her before she was even born. She grew up with an unloving mother but loving and caring grandmother. He is an alchemist searching for the elixir of life and barely pays attention to Meggy disappointed that she is crippled and not a boy. Cushman makes London sound like a horrible place to be as trash and chamber pots are dumped in the streets. People yell at Meggy assuming she is cursed by the devil because she needs walking sticks. However, Meggy is a strong and resourceful girl and manages to earn pennies to feed herself and makes new friends. Another gem from Cushman. I read this as an ebook courtesy of netgalley and have purchased it for my library. It will be highly recommended.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Lying Game by Sara Shepard

THE LYING GAME introduces Emma, an almost 18 year old who was abandoned by her mother and grew up in many different foster homes. Emma finds out she has an identical twin named Sutton and sets out to meet her in hopes that she can become part of her adopted family. However Sutton's family thinks she's Sutton and doesn't believe Emma when she claims differently. Meanwhile, Emma decides to try to figure out what happened to Sutton. Sutton and her friends are not nice people and are involved in lying games which include pranks to humiliate others. Possibly my all time favorite line comes from this book. At Sutton's 18th birthday party "Three laptops sat on a table near the door: each had USB cords to upload photos to Facebook and Twitter. I still smile when I read that. But please note this is not a funny book and the author requests readers to not try any of the pranks in the book. I like Emma (and Sutton's spirit who occasionally appears and Ethan the cute boy next store) and will cheer her on. Teens will gobble this book up and will anxiously await the sequel. I read it as an e-book arc from netgalley.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Contest--Win a copy of 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

Did you ever wish you had the chance to do a day over? You can read the book REWIND or
11 BIRTHDAYS to see what that is like. Here is a chance to win 11 BIRTHDAYS11 Birthdays. Name the author of REWIND and 1 other title that we have in our library by that author. Do not repeat a title.
If all the titles have been used you can say what other books by Wendy Mass we have in our library. Please remember to include your first name, last initial and teacher in your comment.
Contest ends 11:59 PM on Friday, November 5.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Genius Files : Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman

In THE GENIUS FILES : MISSION UNSTOPPABLE by Dan Gutman Coke and Pepsi are almost 13 year-old twins. They have scored extremely high on standardized tests and have been recruited into a secret organization of genius children whose mission is to save the world. Their family is traveling across the U.S.A. from California to Washington D.C. with plans on visiting tourist attractions along the way. Coke and Pepsi receive and solve codes and ciphers and save themselves from getting hurt by people who apparently are against The Genius Files. This book is filled with excitement and adventure and reminds me of STORMBREAKER by Anthony Horowitz. What makes it even better is Dan Gutman's sense of humor and the fact that he made this book interactive. Readers are encouraged to follow the trip with mapquest, google maps or an atlas. Gutman is willing to wait for the reader to look up trivia facts if they don't believe him. As a parent it is hard to believe that their parents can be so naive. However it is easy to believe that Coke and Pepsi can handle themselves in no matter what situation they fall in due in part to Gutman's convincing writing. This is a fun read and kids will gobble it up and clamor for Part 2. I read it as an e-book arc from netgalley and it will be published in early 2011.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Contest--Win LUNCH MONEY by Andrew Clements

Do to poplular demand contests are back! The winner of the first contest of the year will win a copy of Andrew Clements LUNCH MONEY. For one chance to win LUNCH MONEY name another book by Andrew Clements. Do not repeat a title once someone has written it. IMPORTANT-you must include your first name, last initial and teacher's name to be in the contest. Contest ends at 11:59 Friday, October 29.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

It's 1962 in this documentary novel entitled COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles. John F. Kennedy is the president. Martin Luther King Jr. is just starting to speak his message. Pete Seeger is writing folk songs. And Franny is a girl who loves her family and Nancy Drew books. In school Franny and her classmates are taught to "duck and cover" when air raid sirens go off. She's fighting with her best friend, has a crush on the boy next store and is afraid that Cuba and/or Russia will drop an atom bomb on America. Franny's story is told interspersed with news articles, lyrics to songs, maps and illustrations in quite an amazing book. For a different kind of historical fiction book check out COUNTDOWN.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz

by Laura Amy Schlitz. Flory is a night fairy who loses her wings in a run in with a bat. She winds up in a garden and is determined to survive in a world of giants (humans). A squirrel becomes her mode of transportation but Flory wants to fly again and tries to get a hummingbird to carry her on its back to fly. What will happen to the hummingbird when it's caught in a spiderweb? Will Flory ever fly again? The author Laura Amy Schlitz wrote this book for all the girls in her library asking for books about fairies.
A fun read.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest

Do you want to participate in THE GREAT SCAVENGER HUNT CONTEST? You can view the list of books on line and print the challenge.

Go to Click on middle grades/tweens for the the books. Click on a title to print the challenge. When you turn it in to me please put your name and age on it.

Thanks and good luck.

Monday, October 4, 2010


In SHOOTING KABUL by N.H. Senzai Fadi and his family leave Afghanistan weeks before September 11, 2001. His father has been asked to join the Taliban and instead he chooses to leave the country. On the evening of their escape, Mariam the youngest child accidently is left behind. Each member of the family feels responsible for what happened but Fadi most of all and this is his story. Filled with Afghani history, religion, family and food this is a wonderful story. When I finished the book I wanted more. More of Fadi and life in the US. And perhaps Mariam's story too.

KEEPER by Kathi Appelt

When I finished reading KEEPER by Kathy Appelt was relieved. Sometimes 400 page books take me so long to read that I just want to be done already. Then I was confused about my feelings on the book. Did I like it? Did I not like it? So I reread the editorial reviews and some amazon reader reviews and saw I was not alone. While the critics love it other readers are like me. It is a wonderful poetic book with strong characters and a charming story. Mermaids, a loving (non-traditional) family, life by the sea, surfboards. However, it is not an easy book to read and many children will not stick with it long enough to really enjoy. However, strong readers who love mermaids and long stories will love it and that's who I recommend it to.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Battle of the Books

The Yorba Linda Public Library is hosting the 3rd annual Battle of the Books. This fun reading competition is open to all students in grades 4-12. There are three battles.

4th-6th grades

6th-8th grades

9th-12th grades.

Go to for titles of books, important dates and more information.

Design a T-Shirt Contest

Have you read the Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter? The first one is I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT I'D THEN I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU. Or THE HEIST SOCIETY? Do you like to draw or design clothes?
If yes to any of the above check out this contest. You can win $200 to your favorite book store and your shirt will be printed and sold on line. You get a free one. Interested? Check the link below. Hurry, the deadline for entries is October 24.

The Great Scavenger Hunt Contest

Attention attention: Fifth and Sixth graders. You are invited to participate in
THE GREAT SCAVENGER HUNT contest. Stay tuned for all the details.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Patricia Maclachlan's newest book WORD AFTER WORD AFTER WORD could make anyone a writer. A famous writer visits a classroom for 6 weeks and answers questions, shares her writing, share others writing and turns the class of 4th graders into writers. The students learn to share experiences and live with a dog that died, parents separation, new baby brother and a parent with cancer. A quick easy read that could become a favorite read-a-loud for teachers.


THE INCORRIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE :BOOK 1 THE MYSTERIOUS HOWLING Penelope grew up in an orphanage and upon graduation she takes a job as a governess. Hired at Ashton Place she will care for three young children. These children were found in the woods, almost shot by Lord Ashton while hunting. They have been raised by wolves and lucky for them and Penelope she knows how to communicate with animals. The story takes place in older times however the author compares sitations to contemporary ones. Penelope teaches the children to speak English and begins educating them on being human as well as academic subjects. But who abandoned them? Who is trying to sabatage their well being? Who/what is howling in the attic? In Lemony Snicket styling this is a very haunting and fun read.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord

Imagine living on an island just off of the mainland of Maine. You know everyone. Everyone knows you. There are year round residents and summer tourists. One school. When one family moves away the state of Maine threatens to close the school and the year round residents will have to move to the mainland for school. However some of the families take on foster children to provide loving homes to children in need and to keep the school open. TOUCH BLUE is based on a true story. Aaron is one of the foster children and he comes to live with Tess and her family. He is a talented musician and misses his alcoholic mother immensely. Tess shares her love of lobster fishing with him and hopes to make him love the island as much as she does. A truly beautiful book.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Magnificent 12 : THE CALL by Michael Grant.

I haven't read this book yet but the reviews are awesome and amazon has a great trailer. Take a look.

ART & MAX by David Wiesner

Here's a trailer for David Wiesner's newest book ART & MAX.

Monday, August 30, 2010

ONLY ONE YEAR by Andrea Cheng

In ONLY ONE YEAR, Sharon and Mary's parents decide to send their 2 year-old brother to China for a year. Instead of child care they feel he will be better off with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins while both parents work full time. They can teach him Chinese and spend lots of time with him. Sharon and Mary miss him although they are embarrassed to tell their friends what their parents have done. When Di Di returns Sharon is afraid he doesn't love her or even remember her anymore. A short glimpse into a family's experience in the U.S.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

DREAM OF NIGHT by Heather Henson

Shiloh is a 12 year-old girl who moves from foster home to foster home. Dream of Night is a retired racehorse who has been starved and abused. Jess is a woman who rescues horses and takes in foster children. Night doesn't respond to anyone but slowly begins to trust Shiloh. Shiloh resists Jess's warmth and caring but begins to respond to Night. I truly loved this book. It was written with 3 points of view including Night's and I could not put it down.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

AFTER EVER AFTER by Jordan Sonneblick

When I saw this book on the shelf I knew I had to read DRUMS GIRLS AND DANGEROUS PIE first. And so after that book I read this one on a long plane ride and again needed tissues. This time Jeffrey is in 8th grade and Steven is in Africa "finding himself." Jeffrey and his best friend are survivors and are going through a lot of the same stuff Steven did in 8th grade. Jeffrey misses Steven terribly and writes him letters that he never mails. Another great Jordan Sonneblick book.

Monday, August 23, 2010

DRUMS GIRLS & DANGEROUS PIE by Jordan Sonnenblick

While an 8th grader Steven's little brother is diagnosed with leukemia. Steven's mom spends all her time caring for Jeffrey at the hospital where he is being treated. The dad is lost in his own world and Steven stops doing his homework but is always there when Jeffrey needs him. Funny moments mixed in with sickness and heartbreak made this a one sitting read for me. I dare you to read it without a box of tissues.

LITTLE BLOG ON THE PRAIRIE by Cathleen Davitt Bell

Gen and her family will be spending the entire summer in a camp for families somewhere in Wyoming where you live like it's 1890. No electricity (so, no ipods, phones, etc.) However, Gen manages to sneak in her cell phone and texts her friends about her experiences. They turn her texts into a blog. Meanwhile at camp Gen develops a crush on a boy who has also caught the attention of the daughter of the owners of the camp. This was a fun book to read crossing historical fiction with humor and romance.

Friday, August 6, 2010

FLIPPED by Wendelin Van Draanen

Want to win a poster for the movie FLIPPED (I do!)? Enter here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

At the end of chapter 1 Samantha is killed in a (teen drunken) car crash. In chapter 2 Sam wakes up and it's the same day and she is very much alive. She gets to relive the day 7 times apparently to try to live that day the right way. What will she do differently? What will she do the same? I was so looking forward to reading this book based on reviews I had read. However, as a parent I found it quite disturbing. The teens drink, smoke (cigarettes and pot) regularly, cut classes constantly and are promiscuous. Restaurants serve liquor without asking for IDs. There are no consequences for not showing up in class. Parents don't seem to notice the smell of tobacco or booze. Older teens will devour this book and there are parts I did enjoy. I am happy to say that by chapter 6 there is finally a designated driver. Reading it made me feel like I did something right as a parent.

Cosmic by Cottrell Boyce

Liam is a 12 year-old boy who is very big for his age. So big he is not only mistaken for a teacher but is also able to pose as the father of a classmate. In COSMIC Liam winds up the only adult with a group of other 12 year-olds on a spaceship. In space. Liam has brought along his father's guidebook to dealing with teenagers and Liam uses the guidance of the book to help deal with the other kids especially when they are possibly lost in space.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Meet Ally Carter

Want to meet Ally Carter the author of "I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls)" and "Heist Society." She'll be in southern California next week. Here's her tour schedule.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Check out this movie trailer for FLIPPED which is coming out August 6.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler

In this retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses, Diane Zahler imagines there is a thirteenth princess. The king, who longs for a son is upset when his wife gives birth to a thirteenth daughter and dies after childbirth, sends her to live with the servants. Zita doesn't find out until she is 12 that she is a princess. Meanwhile, the princesses become ill and Zita, the stableboy and Babette (a witch) set out to find out what is happening to them and save their lives. At once romantic, magical, exciting and inventive THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS is a charming read.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mockingbird (mok'ing-burd) by Kathryn Erskine

Caitlin's world falls apart the day her brother is shot and killed in a junior high school shooting. As a child with Asperger's her brother was her link to the world. He helped her cope with school, clothes and behavior and since her dad is drowning in his own grief Caitlin looks in books and her dictionary for help. She figures out that what they need is some sort of closure to help put their lives back together. This is a remarkable book which lets us get inside Caitlin's head and understand a little more about people with this syndrome. MockingbirdMockingbird by Kathryn Erskine is a quick enjoyable read.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Judy Moody movie

Do you love Judy Moody? Do you know an 8-10 year old girl that can play Judy Moody in a movie? Check out this link.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Athena the Brain by Joan Holub & Suzanne Williams

There is a lovely new series of books about the Greek goddesses as young girls entitled Goddess Girls. The first one is Athena the Brain and it is adorable. Athena is living on earth being raised by mortals until she is summoned to Mount Olympus by her dad, Zeus. It is time for her to attend the academy and so she bids her best friend farewell and heads off to Olympus. There she meets Persephone, Aphrodite and Artemis ( each will have their own book) as well as Zeus, Poseidon, Pandora and more. Filled with mythology and creative earthy inventions (Athena invents olives in a science fair) this book is perfect as a prequel to The Lightning Thief series and for younger kids.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Contest--win a copy of THE TEASHOP GIRLS by Laura Schaeffer

Last September I wrote about THE TEASHOP GIRLSThe Teashop Girls and how much I enjoyed it. Now I am giving away a hard cover copy of this book. You can read my blurb here.

To win tell me 3 books you have read this school year that you have enjoyed. Contest ends Sunday 11:59 PM on May 16.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy

I found out about this book on twitter. After checking out the author's website and reading some various blog posts about the book I was curious enough to purchase the book. Tweens are going to adore it. Jess is the new girl in town and is being bullied by Lexy after beating out Lexy for the cheer team. Jess is invited into The Cinderella Society and joins a large group of girls who learn to wield their girl power by stopping the Wickeds (mean girls) from bullying the Reggie (regulars). Jess has a crush on Ryan who just happens to be Lexy's brother. I love the relationship between Ryan and Jess as they navigate their feelings and each tries to deal with their personal issues. This books proves that girls are strong and can make a difference in the world. And now we wait a year for the sequel.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED by Judy Blundell

What started off as a slow read turned out to be a book I couldn't put down. The year is 1947 and 15 year-old Evie's stepdad Joe has returned from the war. Joe takes Evie and her mom Bev on their first vacation to Palm Beach Florida. It is late summer and the off season so there are not many people in their hotel. However they spend a lot of time with another couple, the Graysons, and Peter, a GI that knows Joe from the war. Evie believes she is in love with Peter. Joe agrees to go into business with Mr. Grayson. Mrs. Grayson disappears every day for a few hours. Bev takes golf lessons and spends a lot of time with Evie and Peter while Joe and Mr. Grayson are out. The Graysons are asked to leave Palm Beach on a sour note and Peter, Joe and Bev go on a boat ride just as a hurricane is blowing in and only two of them arrive back safely. There is a lot of historical fiction (see below.) There is also mystery, romance and tender moments between mother and daughter. However, we learn that not everything looks as we see it and the last part of the book was like putting pieces of a puzzle back together. Highly recommended for young adults and adults.

Spoiler alert:

I did not know that Jews were not allowed in Palm Beach when this story takes place. Instead they went to Miami. I found this fact shocking considering how many Jewish people I know that have moved or relocated to Palm Beach.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Students--anyone out there?

How is spring break going for you? What are you reading? I finished THE MAZE RUNNER and THE DAUGHTERS and I really need to go to the library to get some more books.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Here's a link to an article about Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson, THE RED PYRAMID and more.

Friday, April 2, 2010

THE DAUGHTERS by Joanne Philbin

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the child of a celebrity? The daughters in this book are just that, living in Manhattan and growing up in the spotlight. It's not unusual for the paparazzi to follow their every move and Lizzie even has an interview published on you-tube! This book focuses on Lizzie and I'm guessing the next book will focus on one of the other two, either Carina or Hudson. Lizzie's mom is a supermodel and is quite beautiful and Lizzie has always considered herself not pretty and more of her father's daughter. However when she is discovered by a photographer who searches for a different kind of beauty Lizzie's life changes.
She also is reunited with a childhood friend (Todd) and struggles with feelings towards him. This book is perfect for tweens or young teens looking for romance or contemporary fiction.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Contest--HEIST SOCIET by Ally Carter

Check out this contest to win an autographed copy of HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is exiting and thrilling from page 1. Thomas wakes up in the Glade with no memory of where he came from, why he's there, who he is except his name. There are about 60 other boys and they farm, cook, and run the mazes surrounding them trying to find a way out. Grievers, mechanical monsters attack anyone still in the maze after the doors close at night. When a girl, Teresa arrives things start to change. Can they find a way out and survive? This is dystopian literature and will appeal to those who enjoyed THE GIVER, CITY OF EMBER, and THE HUNGER GAMES.
Spoiler--it is violent and the first in a trilogy.

The 39 Clues Book 8 : the Emperor's Code

Book 8 is coming out on April 1. Yes, we have 1-7 in the our library and Book 8 will be requested for sure!

Monday, March 29, 2010


THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY by Jenny Han is the perfect romance novel for tweens. This sequel is due out very soon.

OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper

For eleven years Melody has heard words, learned words and thought words but has never uttered a single syllable. Doctors and most teachers have no idea what goes on in her head but her parents and next door neighbor have never given up on her. Her cerebral palsy limits her body but not her mind and Melody's intelligence begins to shine when her aide helps her find a computer that will give her a voice. Melody is not just book smart. She has figured out the school yard antics and cattiness of girls and after a near tragedy she learns who her true friends really are. Her parents are so loving and giving and Melody has true support from her neighbor Mrs. V and school aide Catherine. A wonderful book that really makes you stop and think.

Monday, March 15, 2010

ME AND ORSON WELLES by Robert Kaplow

A few years ago I read this book and this is what I wrote in my journal - "Teenage Jewish boy with acting aspirations meets Orson Welles, acts in a play, falls in love." Is this what the recent movie is about?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

THE CLONE CODES by The McKissacks

Rarely do I read a book in one sitting but I couldn't put THE CLONE CODES down. The McKissacks have blended historical fiction into the future where clones and cyborgs are treated as slaves were before the emancipation proclamation. Leanna attends a virtual school. Never leaving the comfort of her home she puts on glasses and learns history by virtually living it. One day her mom is arrested for being part of a group trying to obtain human rights for clones and cyborgs and tells Leanna to run and get help. The first in a trilogy I'm already awaiting the second.
Not to be missed!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Contest--Battle of the Labryrinth by Rick Riordan

Would you like to win a copy of Rick Riordan's BATTLE OF THE LABRYRINTH? To enter do one of the following and put your answer in a comment on this post. Remember to include your name, last initial and teachers. Contest ends Friday, March 12 at 11:59PM.
Name a Dewey number that you can find a book about Greek Gods or Goddesses, Ancient Greece, stories about Ancient Greece including the Trojan War and the Odyssey.
Do not repeat and please only submit ONE Dewey number.

Bonus: listen to chapter one of THE LIGHTNING THIEF by copying and pasting this link in your brower:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

DOG GONE by Cynthia Chapman Willis

Dylan, called Dill for short lives on a farm in Virginia with her dad and grandfather. She spends lots of time working at a stable and riding horses and with her best friend Cub. Dead End, Dill's dog has been running away. Seems he's looking for Dill's mom who recently died. When a dog pack begins attacking farm animals, Dill and Cub spend every free moment searching for Dead End hoping he is not one of the dogs killing animals. This book is thrilling, sad and hopeful and full of love and friendship. It is available in our library and was signed and donated by the author to all of us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Golden's book fair is Monday-Friday March 22-26.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New series by Rick Riordan (THE LIGHTNING THIEF author)

Are you a LIGHTNING THIEF fan? Do you enjoy Rick Riordan books? He has a new series coming out entitled The Kane Chronicles. Book one is called THE RED PYRAMID and you can read the first chapter here

Monday, February 8, 2010


This is one of the last advanced readers copies I have from the ALA convention I attended in June 2008. Would you like to win it?
To enter this contest name ONE book that Gary Paulsen wrote that is available in our library. Go to our catalog to search Leave a comment with the title, your name, last initial and teacher. For an extra bonus leave another comment with the copyright date of the book. Contest will end Sunday, February 14 at 11:59 pm. Good luck

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Would you like to win a copy of THE DIARY OF A WIMPY KID : RODRICK RULES? To enter leave a comment with a title of a Caldecott Medal winning book. Do not repeat a title already used. Remember to include your name, last intitial and teacher's name. Contest ends Wednesday, February 3 at 11:59 PM.

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners announced

From Publishers Weekly, 1/18/2010

Rebecca Stead has won the 2010 Newbery Medal for When You Reach Me (Random/Wendy Lamb). Jerry Pinkney has won the 2010 Randolph Caldecott Medal for The Lion & the Mouse (Little, Brown). And Libba Bray has won the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award for Going Bovine (Delacorte). The awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in Boston.

Four Newbery Honor Books were named: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (FSG/Kroupa); The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly (Henry Holt); Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (Little, Brown); and The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick (Scholastic/Blue Sky).

There were two Caldecott Honor Books: All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, written by Liz Garton Scanlon (S&S/Beach Lane); and Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman (Houghton).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

THE OLD COUNTRY by Mordicai Gerstein

You can win this book. Here's the review from SLJ "The bulk of this tale takes place in the pseudo-mythical Old Country. At the present time, Great Grandmother Gisella tells her disbelieving young relative the story about how she had been both a girl and a fox. The complicated telling begins, intermingling rather gruesome civil war images, animal tales, Alice-in-Wonderlandesque style legal trials, and slapstick political characters and coups. When Gisella stares too long into Flame the Fox's eyes, they trade shapes. Gisella the fox spends much of the rest of the tale trying to find her family and Flame/Gisella so that she can return to her original form."

To enter the contest leave a comment naming another book that this author has written or illustrated. The person who names the Caldecott Medal win gets an extra entry. Please include your name, last initial and teacher. Contest ends Wednesday night 11:59 PM January 13. Good luck!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Secret of Zoom by Lynne Jonell

Christina's parents are scientists but now she lives alone with her father. Her mother was blown up in a science experiment a few years before. Christina's father keeps her safe and isolated as he is worried about her winding up in the orphanage next door. One day Taft, an orphan boy befriends Christina and convinces Christina to find the secret tunnel that will help him escape from the orphanage where the children are starved and abused. Soon, she and Taft embark on a journey filled with mystery, crazy scientists and flying planes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

SEASON OF GIFTS is a companion novel to A YEAR DOWN YONDER and A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO both of which are wonderful books. Peck has brought back the central character of Mrs. Dowdel and introduced a new family in this book. Mrs. Dowdel quietly delivers gifts to this family most of which they don't even realize are gifts. From helping the 12 year-old boy get back at bullies to planning a funeral for a ghost (to help increase interest in the new minister) this book is a rollicking read that leaves you smiling. I definitely recommended reading the first two before this one and you will enjoy them all. I did.

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbar O'Connor

Popeye lives in a small town with his grandmother and no-good-do-nothing uncle. Life is boring. Nothing happens. He longs for something to happen. One day, after a week of rain a trailer gets stuck in the mud. Living in the trailer is Elvis, his parents and a bunch of siblings. Elvis and Popeye become friends and find a boat made out of a yoohoo carton floating on the creek. They decide they need to find out who made the boat and sent it down the creek. And so the adventure begins. Can they figure out the mystery before the trailer is dug out of the mud? This is a quick read and a sweet story.