Showing posts from September, 2017

BLOG TOUR: It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk

IT'S NOT JACK AND THE BEANSTALK written by Josh Funk, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor two lions, 2017 ISBN: 978-1542045650 Source: Blue Slip Media for review Ages 5 and up Picture book All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Jack is not fond of the bossy narrator of his fairy tale! When Jack is told to trade his beloved cow Bessie for some magic beans, throw the beans out the window, climb the ENORMOUS beanstalk that sprouts overnight, and steal from a GIANT, he decides this fairy tale is getting out of control. In fact, he doesn’t want to follow the story line at all. Who says Jack needs to enter a life of daring, thievery, and giant trickery? He takes his story into his own hands—and you’ll never guess what happens next!

With laugh-out-loud dialogue and bold, playful art (including hidden fairy tale creatures for kids to find), this Jack and the Beanstalk retelling will have children rolling with laughter till Bessie the cow comes home.


YA REVIEW: The Border by Steve Schafer

THE BORDER by Steve Schafer Sourcebooks Fire, 2017 ISBN: 9781492646839 YA Contemporary Ages 14 and up (grades 9-12) Source: Publisher through NetGalley All opinions expressed are solely my own.

One moment changed their lives forever.

A band plays, glasses clink, and four teens sneak into the Mexican desert, the hum of celebration receding behind them. 

Crack. Crack. Crack.

Not fireworks--gunshots. The music stops. And Pato, Arbo, Marcos, and Gladys are powerless as the lives they once knew are taken from them.

Then they are seen by the gunmen. They run. Except they have nowhere to go. The narcos responsible for their families' murders have put out a reward for the teens' capture. Staying in Mexico is certain death, but attempting to cross the border through an unforgiving desert may be as deadly as the secrets they are trying to escape...


I'll admit that this book hit me pretty hard.  I knew when I agreed to read it that it was going to be emotionally-charged…

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: I Survived True Stories: Nature Attacks/I Survived True Stories: Tornado Terror by Lauren Tarshis

I Survived True Stories #2
by Lauren Tarshis Scholastic Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-0-545-85231-9 Ages 9-12 Middle grade nonfiction Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.


The author of the New York Times bestselling I Survived series brings us more harrowing true stories of real kids up against terrible forces of nature. From fourteen-year-old lone survivor of the shark attacks of 1916, to nine-year-old who survived the Peshtigo fire of 1871 (which took place on the very same day in history as the Great Chicago Fire!), here are four unforgettable survivors who managed to beat the odds.

Read their incredible stories:
The Deadly Shark Attacks of 1916
The Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871
A Venomous Box Jellyfish Attack
The Eruption of Mount Tambora


There seems to be something compelling about hearing disaster stories.  Especially if they happen to someone else.  And to be honest, I'm no different in that regard.  Wh…

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing by Leda Schubert

LISTEN How Pete Seeger Got America Singing by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Raul Colon Roaring Brook Press, 2017 ISBN: 978-162672-250-7 Source: Blue Slip Media Ages 6 and up All opinions expressed are solely my own.

There was nobody like Pete Seeger.
Wherever he went, he got people singing.
With his head thrown back
and his Adam s apple bouncing,
picking his long-necked banjo
or strumming his twelve-string guitar,
Pete sang old songs,
new songs,
new words to old songs,
and songs he made up.

In this tribute to legendary musician and activist Pete Seeger, author Leda Schubert highlights major musical events in Mr. Seeger's life as well important moments of his fight against social injustice. From singing sold-out concerts to courageously standing against the McCarthy-era finger-pointing, Pete Seeger's life is celebrated in this book.


 for Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing Leda Schubert holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in th…

CYBILS Judges Announced!

I am thrilled to say that the judges for the 2017 Cybils awards have been announced.  I'm even more thrilled to say that I am a member of the Junior/Senior High Nonfiction 1st round panel this year.  I'm excited to participate with Cybils once again, this time in a new category.  To see all the judges chosen for this year, go here.

Here are the other Junior/Senior High Nonfiction panelists:

Round 1
Rebecca Aguilar
Rebecca G. Aguilar
@RebeccaGAguilar Anne Bennett
My Head is Full of Books
@headfullofbooks Louise Capizzo
Nonfiction Detectives
@lcapizzo Heidi Grange
Geo Librarian
@GeoLibrarian Julie Jurgens
Hi Miss Julie!
@himissjulie Round 2
Danyelle Leach
Bookshelves in the Cul-de-Sac Thomas Maluck
Richland Library
@liberrytom Katy Manck
Books YA Love
@booksyalove Helen Murdoch
Helen’s Book Blog
@hcmurdoch Jennie Rothschild

GRAPHIC NOVEL SEQUELS: Cleopatra in Space: The Golden Lion/The Nameless City: The Stone Heart

THE GOLDEN LION Cleopatra in Space #4 by Mike Maihack Graphix, 2017 ISBN: 978-0-545-83871-9 Ages 9-12 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Cleo is back at Yasiro Academy, recovering from the tragic events that occurred on planet Hykosis. She feels responsible for the death of her friend Zaid, and trains nonstop. And when she learns that the Golden Lion -- a star with immeasurable energy that could destroy them all if weaponized -- has been located, she goes alone to the snowy, icy planet Cada'duun to find it. There, she faces off with a new enemy who has been instructed to destroy the Golden Lion... and her. REVIEW

Each book in this series has gotten more intense than the last as Cleo struggles to live up to the prophecies about her.  After the tragedy of losing a friend in book 3, which Cleo blames herself for, Cleo isn't about to involve her friends in her latest escapade.  Especially since the council (most of them) didn't want her to …

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: This Book Stinks! by Sarah Wassner Flynn

THIS BOOK STINKS! Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash by Sarah Wassner Flynn National Geographic Kids, 2017 ISBN: 978-1-4263-2730-8 Source: Media Masters Publicity Middle grade nonfiction Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Get up close and personal with a wonderful world of waste. From composting and recycling, to landfills and dumps, to how creative people are finding new ways to reuse rubbish. It's fun to talk trash when it's jam-packed with infographics, thematic spreads, wow-worthy photos, sidebars, serious stats, and fabulous facts. Also included are quizzes and activities to inspire kids to take action, be proactive, and rethink the things we throw away.


I had no idea garbage and recycling could be so fascinating.  The facts in the book are both intriguing and horrifying at the same time.  Just thinking of the amount of waste human beings produce is mind-boggling.  On the other hand, the efforts being made to lower th…

YA REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco Jimmy Patterson Books, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-316-27349-7 YA Historical Mystery Ages 14 and up Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.


Jack the Ripper is of course a well-known serial killer, but one who to this day remains a mystery in terms of who he was and why he did what he did.  That makes his story perfect for fictionalizing.  And Ma…

MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari

by Jennifer Maschari
Balzer + Bray, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-06-243892-8
Source: ARC from Blue Slip Media
Ages 9-12
Middle grade contemporary
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


Emily Murphy is about to enter middle school. She’s sort of excited… though not nearly as much as her best friend Hazel, who is ready for everything to be new. Emily wishes she and Hazel could just continue on as they always have, being the biggest fans ever of the Unicorn Chronicles, making up dance moves, and getting their regular order at The Slice.

But things are changing. At home, Emily and her mom are learning to move on after her parents’ divorce. Hardest of all, her beloved sister Mina has been in a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia. Emily is eager to have her back, but anxious about her sister getting sick again.

Hazel is changing too. She has new friends from the field hockey team, is starting to wear makeup, and have crushes on boys. Emily is trying …