Saturday, June 30, 2012

Crush:The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Love by Gary Paulsen

Gary Paulsen is one of my favorite authors especially for adventure and historical fiction books for boys.  In meeting Kevin in Crush I've seen a whole other side to Paulsen and I love it!  Kevin wants to ask a girl out on a date but believes he needs to learn the ins and outs of love and relationships first.  He set out to find out what he can.  His observations are hilarious and readers, boy and girls alike, will laugh out loud.  I did!  Once readers get to know Kevin, they may also want to read the two previous books about Kevin, Liar, Liar and Flat Broke.  Recommended for fourth graders and up who enjoy humorous stories.  I will also recommended it for girls asking for romance books.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Random House Children's Books via Netgalley.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Auggie is an amazing child born with a deformed face and home schooled until fifth grade.  The book begins as he enters a real school for the first time.  We witness the reactions of others as they see him for the first time in school and in day to day activities.  

Auggie has a terrific sense of humor and it is hard not to fall in love with him.  Not wanting pity he strives to be normal and we cheer him on from page one to page the last.  Occasionally the story shifts to other points of view which add another dimension to Wonder.  Some of these POV's push this book out of the elementary age range into middle school and higher however mature 5th and 6th graders will enjoy the book.

Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Random House Children's Books via Netgalley.  However I have purchased this book for my school library and readers are enjoying it and we've had some lovely conversations about it.

Hannah's Way by Linda Glaser

Hannah is the only Jewish girl in her depression era class in Minnesota. When a class picnic is scheduled for a Saturday Hannah is disappointed when her parents won't let her ride in a car to get there as orthodox Jews do not ride on the Sabbath.  

While the story takes places over 70 years ago the theme rings true for today.  Living in Orange County my children were quite often the only Jewish kid in their class.  One year students were making Christmas ornaments.  My son decided to do it his way and made a Judah Maccabee ornament and we display it proudly to this day.    Hannah's classmates were tolerant of her religion and this story can be shared with classrooms filled with students of the same religion/nationality and those completely diverse.  Recommended for readers of all ages.

Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Kar-Ben via Netgalley.

Madhattan Mystery by John J. Bonk

Lexi and her brother Kevin are spending a few weeks with their aunt in Manhattan while their dad and new stepmom enjoy their honeymoon.  Right off the train in Grand Central Station Lexi overhears snippets of a conversation that she soon realizes are clues to the disappearance of Cleopatra's jewels that were to be on exhibit at a New York museum.  Along with new friendemy Kim Ling Levine, a girl Lexi's age that lives in their Aunt Roz's building who just wants to be an investigative journalist, Lexi and Kevin set out to find the jewels and claim the reward money.

The three kids travel around New York City with Kim as their guide.  She is a Chinese Jewish American girl and I loved her as she made me laugh out loud with her Yiddish sayings (many of which I grew up with).  New York highlights include the theatre and Central Park as well as Grand Central Station.  Lexi and Kevin have such a wonderful sibling relationship and they help each other heal from the death of their mother.  Although gone about 2 years, their mother's influence is prevalent throughout the story and we know she is watching over her children.

The mystery aspects of the story twist and turn and yet Bonk lets us really learn about Lexi.  The writing is well paced and exciting although as a mother my heart breaks for the Lexi and Kevin.  Recommended for readers in grades 4 and up and for fans of mysteries, adventures, and stories that take place in New York City.

Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Bloomsbury Children's Books via Netgalley.

Meeting Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

My children grew up loving all of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's books.  For over 13 years I have introduced 100's of students to The Time Warp Trio series, Math Curse, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales,  John, Paul, George and Ben and so many more written together and apart.
At ALA last week I had the privilege of meeting both of these wonderful inspirations to children (and adults).

Lane Smith is pictured here signing his 2012 Caldecott Honor book Grandpa Green for my students at Tynes.

Pictured here is Jon Scieszka signing his Smash! Crash!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Meeting Chris Raschka, Caldecott Medal Winner

In January, 2012 Chris Raschka won the Caldecott Medal for his book A BALL FOR DAISY.  You can read my blog post about that by clicking here.  In this photo, Chris is autographing books and artwork.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meeting Nikki Grimes

Today I attended the American Library Association's conference.  It is so exciting to meet authors, illustrators and publishers.  Pictured here is author Nikki Grimes autographing a book for me.  Nikki Grimes is the author of many wonderful books including PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL.  To read my review of PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL click here.