Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: Alvin Ho, Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look


ABOUT THE BOOK

Readers will herald the return of their favorite phobic boy in this, the fifth book in the beloved Alvin Ho series. Alvin's mother has been getting bigger . . . and bigger. Alvin's sure it's all the mochi cakes she's been eating, but it turns out she's pregnant! There are lots of scary things about babies, as everybody knows—there's learning CPR for the newborn and changing diapers (no way)—but the scariest thing of all is the fact that the baby could be a GIRL. As a result of the stress, Alvin develops a sympathetic pregnancy and hilarity definitely ensues. Once again, Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham deliver a story that's funny and touching in equal measures.

REVIEW

Getting a new sibling is a pretty common theme in children's literature. Undoubtedly because for many children it is a big deal.  But I doubt many books with that theme are as funny as this one.  Alvin is stunned when his mother informs him that she is pregnant and will be having a baby. Alvin freaks out big time (not unusual for him). And he is even more shocked when he is informed that he is 'sympathetically pregnant' or 'simply pathetic pregnant' as he puts it.  And his friends really aren't much help telling him the dangers of naming the baby, getting fat, and crying babies. In addition, Alvin is pushed into donating his life savings and his PDK (Personal Disaster Kit) to help those suffering from the earthquake in Haiti. Can Alvin learn how to deal with the coming baby? What if, horror of horrors, it's a girl?!

Alvin is a sweet boy who worries/stresses about pretty much everything on the planet, but who honestly wants to help others and do the right thing. And his family is always right there to back him up. His brother Calvin and his Rube Goldberg machines, Anibelly's kind words, and his mother's efforts to help him adjust to the coming baby all help give Alvin the support he needs to let go of some of his worries.  The book is quite funny, Alvin is constantly misunderstanding what he is told by his teacher, his classmates and even his family. This book is a light fun read for early middle grade readers who may find themselves worrying about the world around them and the changes found there. Recommended.

Monday, April 29, 2013

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Nissa: a contemporary fairy tale by Bethany Lopez



Title: Nissa: a contemporary fairy tale

Author: Bethany Lopez

Release date: April 23, 2013

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy






ABOUT THE BOOK

At 900 years old, Nissa is finally ready to follow her mother's path and become the best Fairy Godmother she can. She’s not thrilled when her first assignment turns out to be a teenage human girl with self-esteem issues, but she knows she has to start somewhere. Her assignment has dealt with bullies since her freshman year and they haven’t let up. If Nissa can’t help her regain her self-confidence her future is bleak.

To complicate matters Nissa experiences all the signs that she's met the being fated for her. This impossibility distracts her from her purpose. After all, fairies and humans aren't meant for each other. How can her heart believe otherwise? Can Nissa successfully complete her first assignment as a Fairy Godmother? Will the fates allow Nissa and Levi to be together? And even if they do, will Levi believe Nissa once she reveals the truth?



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Lopez was born in Detroit, Michigan, and grew up in Michigan and San Antonio, Texas. She went to High School at Dearborn High, in Dearborn, Michigan, which is where she has set her Young Adult series. She is married and has a blended family with five children. She is currently serving in the United States Air Force as a Recruiter in Los Angeles, California. She has always loved to read and write and has seen her dream realized by independently publishing her novels through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.


 Social Media links:


REVIEW

A cute story with a fun premise and delightful characters, Nissa revolves around the first mission of a newly trained fairy godmother.  Nissa wants to help others and hopefully make some new friends along the way. But she finds herself unprepared for the mission she is given, helping a young girl believe in herself and face the bullies that have plagued her for years. And what about Levi? Is he her fated companion? And if so, how can that be, he's human. While not as detailed as I would have liked, it's still a fun, light read for those who enjoy a sweet fairy tale.

PURCHASE


GIVEAWAY





Check out the rest of the tour here.

NONFICTION MONDAY: Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure

WILD BOY
The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron
by Mary Losure
illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
Candlewick Press, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5669-0
Middle Grade Nonfiction
Grades 3 and up
Reviewed from purchased copy.

ABOUT THE BOOK

What happens when society finds a wild boy alone in the woods and tries to civilize him? A true story from the author of The Fairy Ring.

One day in 1798, woodsmen in southern France returned from the forest having captured a naked boy. He had been running wild, digging for food, and was covered with scars. In the village square, people gathered around, gaping and jabbering in words the boy didn’t understand. And so began the curious public life of the boy known as the Savage of Aveyron, whose journey took him all the way to Paris. Though the wild boy’s world was forever changed, some things stayed the same: sometimes, when the mountain winds blew, "he looked up at the sky, made sounds deep in his throat, and gave great bursts of laughter." In a moving work of narrative nonfiction that reads like a novel, Mary Losure invests another compelling story from history with vivid and arresting new life.


REVIEW

This book kind of broke my heart.  The story revolves around a boy who grew up in a forest by himself, naked and alone.  Somehow he had learned to survive, but it wasn't an easy process judging by the scars on his body.  That in and of itself is heartbreaking, but what really got to me was the way most of the people he met treated him.   The first time he was captured he was put on display like some sort of animal. The second time he stayed with a widow who it seemed treated him fairly well, but he escaped again and ended up at a school in Rodaz where he was basically a science experiment.  He was lucky in that his caretaker treated him well, but no one else did.  Finally he ended up at a school for deaf/mute children in Paris.  There he met Madame Guerin who loved him and helped take care of him.  But even his instructor, Dr. Itard didn't bother trying to understand where he was coming from and focused solely on humanizing him. He seems to never have learned to speak, whether this is because he couldn't or simply that no one found a way that worked for him is sad.  Even more so is the fact that no one bothered to try sign language, despite his clear inclinations in that direction.  He escaped one more time but there was no going back to way things were and he ended up spending the rest of his life with Madame Guerin in relative freedom. An interesting and emotional story told simply and tenderly.

From a slightly more objective point of view, the author does a great job of telling Victor's story.  She makes it clear where there are holes and so much that we simply can't know because nobody bothered to record anything.  She quotes from those who did record their experiences and impressions of the boy which helps bring the story to life. The writing is simple and straight-forward, which makes the story flow nicely. A beautifully told story about a young man who lived a life so very different than most of us can even imagine. Highly recommended.


 
Check out some other great nonfiction reads, here.

 

MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen


ABOUT THE BOOK

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!


REVIEW

Wow! That about covers it. I loved the first book, The False Prince, and I love this one just as much.  I enjoyed pretty much everything about this book, the characters, the setting, and the plot. Nielsen seems to have a knack for pulling the reader into her stories and never letting go. That was certainly the case for me here.

Character-wise, Jaron (Sage) dominates this book as he did the first one.  Unfortunately for him, he is stuck in a rather precarious position having been just accepted as king.  But he has little support even within his own court, let alone from his people and with his country just inches from war, Jaron much decide what to do about the pirates while facing the possibility of a steward taking his place until he is of age.  But Jaron's strength of will, cleverness, and love of country lead him to make a very risky decision, one that could cost him everything. And he doesn't seem to realize that he does have friends that will do anything to help him, whether he wants help or not. Despite Jaron's tendency to find trouble wherever he goes and his often obnoxious tendency to say what he thinks, not to mention pushing the buttons of everyone he meets, often to his own detriment, Jaron is a character I've loved since the beginning because of his courage and determination to do what needs to be done and his utter loyalty to those he cares about.

The secondary characters are just as great as Jaron.  Imogen, the friend that Jaron rejects in an attempt to protect her risks life and limb to stop Jaron from getting himself killed. Mott, Jaron's loyal bodyguard also seeks to protect the young king and demonstrates his loyalty in powerful ways. Even the bad guys have depth to them, evil as they are. And Roden, the former friend, turned enemy, on whom Jaron risks everything. Will the risk pay off or will it cost Jaron everything?


In terms of plot, Nielsen takes us on another breakneck ride, starting with the attempted assassination that occurs in chapter one. Disguises, disappearances, traitors, and pirates all play a key role in Jaron's journey. I'm going to leave it at that because I don't want to spoil anything, just know that the story is full of twists and turns, some expected, some not that will test Jaron to the breaking point.

Another fabulous story from a talented writer. I am dying to get my hands on book three. Highly, highly recommended. One of my favorite books ever!


 

Friday, April 26, 2013

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Goblin Secrets by William Alexander

GOBLIN SECRETS
by William Alexander
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2726-6
Middle Grade Fantasy
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from copy received in publisher giveaway.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK


In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around—much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared.

Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan—because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river.

This accessible, atmospheric fantasy takes a gentle look at love, loss, and family while delivering a fast-paced adventure that is sure to satisfy.


REVIEW


This book didn't end up being exactly the way I pictured it, but I did enjoy it quite a bit.  The world building was fantastic. I could easily picture the city built in the ravine with the large river running through the center of it and the bridge that seemed to function like a sanctuary.  The clock tower was a fascinating addition, I loved the idea of a clock that showed what time of day it was with a moon and sun rising and setting. I also really appreciated the mask mythology and how wearing a mask could almost turn you into whatever the mask portrayed.  

Character-wise, Alexander created some interesting ones both good and bad, although there wasn't a whole lot of depth to them. I would have liked them to be a little more three dimensional.  But Rownie was a likeable protagonist kind of finding himself through the story.  Graba made a great contrast with her bulk and chicken-shaped, gear legs.  The goblins or Tamlin's as the call themselves were great secondary characters, each other unique in their characteristics.  Thomas, the loud, easily annoyed seemed like the leader, but Semele, the really old and experienced goblin really led the group.  It was fun seeing Rownie get to know them and find a place where he felt like he belonged. Rownie's brother, Rowan was an interesting side character and a bit of mystery since he is talked about a lot but is an enigma for most of the book.

One aspect of the storyline bothered me a tad because it was a bit gruesome.  The taking of hearts and using them as 'coal' made me a little sick but provides a powerful twist in the plot.  The plot moves along nicely from Rownie's discovery and involvement with the goblins to the conflict with Graba and the sudden confrontation with the town mayor who has banned all acting within the city, a law which Rownie violates.  The possible flooding of the river though is the main conflict that Rownie finds himself confronting with the goblins due to their history with masks.  I enjoyed how all the plotlines came together at the end in somewhat surprising ways. 

Overall, an enjoyable book with fun characters, a unique plot, and a fabulous setting. The length is perfect for middle grade readers who aren't yet ready to tackle longer fantasies such as Harry Potter.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

EARLY READER: Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

BINK & GOLLIE: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
by Kate DiCamillo & Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile
Candlewick Press, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3497-1
Early Reader
Grades K-3
Reviewed from purchased copy.

ABOUT THE BOOK

All righty, then! Celebrate the tall and short of a marvelous friendship with a new Bink and Gollie adventure.

Gollie is quite sure she has royal blood in her veins, but can Bink survive her friend’s queenly airs — especially if pancakes are not part of the deal? Bink wonders what it would be like to be as tall as her friend, but how far will she stretch her luck to find out? And when Bink and Gollie long to get their picture into a book of record holders, where will they find the kudos they seek? Slapstick and sweetness, drollery and delight abound in this follow-up to the Geisel Award–winning, New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Bink and Gollie, written by the beloved and best-selling Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and brought to hilarious life by Tony Fucile.


REVIEW

I love this series! Seriously, completely, infatuated. Not only are the characters delightful, but they are genuine and not afraid to be themselves.  The plots in these short stories are simple and yet profound. I'm always amazed when authors can tell stories of depth in so few words and in this case, mostly through text. In this, the third book in the series, Gollie and Bink face some interesting dilemmas.  First, Gollie discovers she is royalty and decides not to fix pancakes any more which shocks Bink. And Bink decides that she isn't sure about being frie

nds with a 'queen.' Can their friendship survive?  And what about when Bink thinks she's found a way to make herself taller but things don't quite work out they way she hopes? Can she handle the disappointment. And can Bink and Gollie really set a world record?  I laughed my way through this book.  The writing and illustrating compliment each other perfectly.  The words are fabulous and the illustrations really bring home the humor and good spirits of Bink and Gollie. This series is great for early readers, but older children will enjoy it too and it would make for a great shared read. Highly, highly recommended.


THOUGHTS ON READING: How involved do you get with the characters in the books you read?

I remember as a kid that I would fly through books like crazy. At least 5 or more chapter books a week if I recall correctly. I become well acquainted with the local librarian. :)  Things have changed as I have gotten older. I now take my time and prefer to relish the experience and allow myself to truly enjoy the book. An interesting plot was my main concern as a kid.

But I've also noticed something else as I've gotten older and that is the tendency to get gut-wrenchingly involved with some of the characters I read about. These are the books I have the hardest time putting down.  I get so involved I get nervous for the character when I know something bad is coming up.  Sometimes I wonder if this is excessive, I mean these characters feel real but they aren't, right? 

Right now, I'm reading Jennifer Nielsen's The Runaway King and I'm dying because I can't go home right this minute and finish reading it. (If you haven't read this series yet, I highly, highly recommend it!) Jaron/Sage is one of my all time characters and he really has a strong tendency to get himself in major trouble and while I know he'll get out of it (this is only book two after all, can't have a book three without the narrator/main character), I'm still really nervous. I feel silly feeling this way since it's 'just a book.' But I can't seem to help it. Some books just really get to me like this, usually ones in which I get really emotionally attached to the characters.  Plots are important to me but characters now dominate my choice of books.  If the character(s) don't interest me or I don't like them I usually won't finish the book.

I just wanted to know if this sort of thing happens to anyone else?  Or am I just weird? Also, what do you think about the change from plot-centered to character-centered reading? Do you think that happens to most people as they get older? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

Monday, April 22, 2013

NONFICTION MONDAY: A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart

A PLACE FOR TURTLES
written by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Higgins Bond
Peachtree, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-56145-693-2
Picture Book Nonfiction
Grades K-5
Reviewed from copy received in publisher giveaway. Thanks!
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In simple yet informative language, A Place for Turtles introduces young readers to the ways human action or inaction can affect turtle populations and opens kids minds to a wide range of environmental issues. Describing various examples, the text provides an intriguing look at turtles, at the ecosystems that support their survival, and at the efforts of some people to save them. At the end of the book, the author offers readers a list of things they can do to help protect these special creatures in their own communities.

REVIEW

Turtles are endangered throughout the world. There are many reasons for this, pollution, alien species of plants or animals, loss of habitat, fishing nets, and hunting.  Stewart does a great job of pointing out these dangers and how they are impacting specific species of turtles.  For example, the painted turtle is threatened by pet owners bring their dogs to their habitat and don't keep them on leashes.  I appreciated how the author also pointed out simple ways to overcome these problems.  Suggestions include: leaving the turtles in the wild, not participating in turtles races, turtle-proof fences, not hunting them, etc.



The thing I enjoyed the most about this book though are the incredibly beautiful illustrations.  Each turtle is painted in its natural habitat doing what they do.  Some of the illustrations show people helping the turtles, some show the dangers.  I appreciated the variety. The maps on the end papers show where each turtle's natural habitat is related to the United States.

A beautiful book that makes an important point about how humans impact the world around us for both good and ill. Highly recommended.


CHECK OUT OTHER GREAT NONFICTION RECOMMENDATIONS HERE.

Friday, April 19, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Mattie by M. Ann Rohrer


ABOUT THE BOOK


MATTIE is a sweeping historical novel based on the life and times of Ann Rohrer’s maternal grandmother, who was born and raised in Colonia Juarez, one of 13 Mormon settlements in Mexico—the same one where Mitt Romney's grandfather lived.

Covering the time between 1902 and 1917 which includes an up close and personal view of Pancho Villa and the turbulence of the Mexican Revolution, we follow Mattie through crisis of faith, adventures, romance, and coming of age as she learns to cope with her world.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martha Ann Robinson Rohrer was born in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. At age nine, she moved with her family to Toquepala, Peru, South America, where they lived for ten years. After attending Juarez Stake Academy in Mexico her sophomore year, she returned to Peru and finished her junior and senior years through correspondence. In 1965, the family returned to the United States, settling in Tucson, Arizona. Ann served a two-year mission to Mexico City, Mexico Mission. She is married to John Rohrer and they live in Pasco, Washington. They have five boys, one daughter, and at present, thirteen grandchildren.

REVIEW

This book provides a powerfully emotional read.  The characters have depth and personality and seemed very real. Maybe the fact that they are based on real people helps. Mattie is especially vivid with her fieriness and her very real struggles. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of her through her childhood and growing up years, it helps explain her feelings and struggles as she grows up.  Like many of us, Mattie struggles to find her faith after losing people she loves. And then a traumatic experience sends her into a nosedive and only by turning to God does she survive. I also really enjoyed reading about Mattie's and her husband-to-be's courtship (I won't say who it is, it would spoil the fun).  It seemed a lot more realistic than a lot of relationships I read about.

One of the aspects of the story that I found especially fascinating was the parts involving the Mexican revolution. I haven't read much about it so it was eye-opening to do so here. I appreciated the end notes the author included explaining the historically accurate parts of the story. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that so many innocent and not so innocent people got hurt, wars are like that, but I empathized with the fear and conflict that Mattie and her family had to deal with.

A great read and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The only things I would have liked better would have been more showing and not so much telling, although covering as much time as she does I can understand why the author had to simply explain some things. The other thing I would have liked better would have been a longer story. ;) I would have liked to know more about Mattie's life experiences. Overall, a great read and one I can recommend with pleasure.

EXCERPT

“Mattie pounded her pillow then rolled over and stared at the ceiling. She hated the interfering throngs of people. She hated the mountains of food. She hated the stupid whispering downstairs.

She hated God.

Gentle rains made little difference in the suffocating heat this first day of summer, yet eleven-year-old Martha Ann Sevey shivered. The pungent smell of death, mixed with sweet carbolic acid and saltpeter, seeped through the high-ceiling parlor below. It wafted up through the wood floor right into Mattie’s bedroom invading her olfactory senses. Worse than the odiferous scent was the ghastly vision of her father (she refused to think of him as “the body”). Laid out on a board supported by two sawhorses, he was covered with rags drenched in the offensive mixture. To slow decay, her mother had explained, which conjured dreadful pictures in Mattie’s young, imaginative mind.”

Thursday, April 18, 2013

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW and INTERVIEW: The Deductive Detective by Brian Rock

THE DEDUCTIVE DETECTIVE
by Brian Rock, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
Sylvan Dell, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60718-6250
Picture Book
Grades PreK-2
Review copy provided by publisher in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Someone stole a cake from the cake contest--who could it be? Twelve animal bakers are potential suspects but Detective Duck uses his deductive reasoning skills to "quack" the case. After all, the thief left hairs behind so the thief wasn't a bird. Follow along as he subtracts each suspect one at a time to reveal just who the culprit was. This clever story will have children of all ages giggling at the puns and the play on words.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Rock received a master's degree in Children's Literature and Creative Writing from Hollins University. Brian's short stories for children appear regularly in the regional magazine Kid's World and his poems for children have appeared in Highlights for Children, Poetry Train, and various regional publications.  His short story, The Frog Dad, was selected as one of the inaugural titles for iPulpFiction's "Don't Read This in the Dark" series.  For six years Brian worked in the Chesterfield County VA public school system teaching at-risk students.

Visit his website or connect on Facebook

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Sherry Rogers spent twelve years as a corporate graphic designer and artist before "leaving it all behind" for the freelance world of illustrating children's books.  In addition to The Deductive Detective some of Sherry's other titles include The Penguin Lady, Ten for Me, Hey Diddle Diddle, Newton and Me, Moose and Magpie, Paws, Claws, Hands & Feet, award-winning Sort It Out!, Kersplatypus, Burro's Tortillas, and If You Were a Parrot.  Sherry lives in Northern California with her family and their pets.

Visit her website here.

REVIEW

Ha, ha. Hee, hee. This book made me laugh.  Not only does this book do an excellent job of providing an easily understandable look at deductive reasoning and how it works, but the use of wordplay makes it funny as well.  When Duck is called in to find Fox's missing cake, he methodically goes through the clues and the twelve suspects until he uncovers the thief.  Each clue eliminates one suspect through deductive reasoning.  A book like this could easily come off as didactic, but it didn't feel that way at all to me.  The book is easy to read and perfect for sharing.  There are many applications for classroom use, but it is also just a fun story. For teachers there is a wonderful explanation and activity at the end of the book about deductive reasoning, using logic and facts to come to a conclusion, making a complex subject understandable for the youngest student.  The illustrations are bright and cheerful and appealing. I had to laugh seeing duck wearing a suit. ;) Highly recommended for fun and learning.


INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN ROCK

What's the 'story behind the story?'
 
The story behind The Deductive Detective begins with a stuffed duck named Quacky. He's my daughter's snuggle buddy. I wanted to write a story for them both that was different than the usual "ducks in a row" type story. So I started to play with the word "duck," which led to deductive, which of course led to a detective. The cake part of the story I added for me - I love cakes!

What did you like/dislike about writing a picture book?
 
I love that first aha! moment when you get a great idea (or when an idea gets you!) I'm not so crazy about going back and revising and editing (although those are indispensable!) I love reading my picture books to kids and hearing them giggle at the funny parts. I dislike the whole business side of submissions, query letters and of course, rejections!

Tell us a little about yourself.
 
I'm not as little as I used to be. (Is that "little" enough?)

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do there?
 
If I had the frequent flyer miles, I'd visit all the mystery sites of the world: Nazca, Machu Pichu, Stonehenge, The Great Serpent Mound, Giza, Anghor Wat, etc. I'd explore and read as much about them as I could. There's so much that we don't know about our own history. Even worse, there's so much that we think we know that isn't correct. I'd love to get to the truth of all these great, ancient sites. Now that would be a story to tell!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
 
I love watching, playing and talking about football. I love cooking with my wife (especially during grill season!) I love reading and playing with my daughter. And I love writing songs with my friends in the Country band, Family Reunion http://www.familyreunioncountry.com/
 
Who inspires you as a writer?
 
My biggest inspiration is Jim Henson. Although he's not a writer in the traditional children's book sense, I love the way he worked with the Muppets and his Sesame Street characters. He never said, "I'm the adult creating characters to teach kids what they need to learn." He always created by finding the kid in himself and playing with the characters to see where they would lead him. I believe that's an essential frame of mind for successful children's writers, and one I try to achieve every time I sit down to write.

Favorite kind of ice cream?

Mint Chocolate Chip. Double scoop on a waffle cone, please!
 
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE BOOK WEBSITE FOR A TEACHING GUIDE AND OTHER GREAT ACTIVITIES.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

KID LIT BLOG HOP #14

Welcome to the 14th Kid Lit Blog Hop. I thought it would be a good time to remind new folks what we are all about. The Kid Lit Blog Hop takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. We decided to start up this Hop to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, as well as parents seeking out their next great read. So, you are more than welcome to link in and take some time to make some new friends.

kidlit book giveaway hopBefore we get on with the Hop I do want to remind you that the sign-ups for the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop, co-hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews is NOW OPEN. The Kid Lit Giveaway Hop is taking place to honor Children's Book Week (May 13 to 19, 2013). Children's book or teen literature bloggers, authors, publishers, or publicists looking to share copies of a fabulous book are welcome to link in a giveaway for fabulous children/teen's books, gift cards, cash, or other prizes. What better way to celebrate Children's Book Week? Click on the poster below for more information.

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

Kid Lit Blog Hop
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Suggestions For How to Participate:

1. Although not mandatory, we ask that you kindly follow your hostesses and co-hostesses. You can follow us any way you choose (Email, GFC, Twitter, Facebook, G+, Pinterest, etc.), but we've added our preferences below. If you could just give us a quick "follow" or "like" that would be much appreciated! Make sure to leave us a message if you are following us (i.e., on Twitter or Facebook or on our websites) and we will be sure to follow you back. Thanks! :-)

Hostesses:


Co-Hostesses:
 

2. Link up any Kid Lit related post. This can be a link to a children’s book review, a discussion about children’s literature/literacy, or a post on a recently-read children’s book or one that you love from your childhood.

* Don't link directly to your blog, it must be a specific post*
* For Authors, we prefer you to link to your blog if you have one *
* Make sure you include an image relevant to the POST (e.g., book cover), not your blog button or photo of yourself.*
* Feel free to link more than one post.*

3. Check out some other books. Don't be a stranger, go see what books other families are checking out, and leave them some love in the form of a comment. We are trying to build a community of bloggers, readers, parents, authors, and others who are as passionate about children’s literature as we are so please CONNECT and follow any or all of the blogs that interest you!

4. If you like, grab the button above and put it somewhere on your blog, preferably the post you're linking up. If you'd prefer, you can just add a text link back to this Hop so that others can find it and check out all these great book links!

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BOOK BLAST: Moonlit by Jadie Jones

MOONLIT

Eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses, has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can’t be explained. Or undone. Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods. When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn’t. But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself?

PRAISE

 "Virginia's trees look like they're burning. Most of them blaze crimson or gold, but some still have a chokehold on their green. I wish they'd give it up already. Leaves are more beautiful when they're dying." And so Moonlit begins. From here the story rolls from one twist to another with many vivid characters whose motives are hard to predict. I found myself being suspicious of everyone, wanting to tell Tanzy to be very careful. The deeper I fell into the plot, the more questions kept rising to the surface. But not to worry, all of my questions were answered. Appropriate for all ages, if you love paranormal fantasy mixed with suspense, mystery and other-worldly romance, you'll love this novel! ~Author Julie Ford

PROLOGUE

The first anniversary of my father’s death was even harder on my mother. Back then, I thought she was haunted most by what she didn’t know. I refused to blame her when she raged above me on our staircase that night, drunk and sad and angry. When she made me promise I’d never ride again. When she hurled a half-full bottle of vodka at my face and it exploded on the wooden stairs at my feet. I hadn’t tried to get out of the way. She had just missed. I wanted to tell her that knowledge was no solace, that what you know can burn inside you until there’s nothing left but guilt and ash. I also wanted to protect her from losing the only piece of him she had left. So I didn’t say a word.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Georgia native Jadie Jones first began working for a horse farm at twelve years old, her love of horses matched only by her love of books. She went on to acquire a B.A. in equine business management, and worked for competitive horse farms along the east coast. The need to write followed wherever she went. She currently coaches a hunt seat equitation team that competes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association, and lives with her family in the foothills of north Georgia. When she's not working on the next installment of the Moonlit series, she is either in the saddle or exploring the great outdoors with her daughter. Moonlit is her first book.

     

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