Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Teen Tuesday: Remembrance by Theresa Breslin


Remembrance by Theresa Breslin. 297 p. Delacorte Press/ Random House Children's Books, December, 2002. 9780385730150. (Own)

Prior to World War I class and sex roles were rigidly set. The nobility rarely mixed with the common folk and women rarely worked outside of the home. Remembrance  by Theresa Breslin tells the story of five teens during World War I. John Malcolm and his twin sister, Maggie and his younger brother Alex are children of shopkeepers and Charlotte and her brother Francis are educated and wealthy. Charlotte and John are sweethearts, which would never do according to her mother. John volunteers to enlist early and Charlotte's brother, Francis objects to the war, much to his mother's dismay. This engrossing novel tells about how their lives are forever changed by a great and terrible war. Recommended!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo


War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. 165 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., 2007. 97780439796637. (Own)

In honor of the hundredth anniversary of the end of the Great War, which would come to be known as World War I, the Daily Booktalk will feature books about it. Middle Grade Monday features a favorite of both Ms. Levy's and Ms. Kahn's - War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. War Horse was inspired by the stories of two veterans who told their own stories about working with horses during the war. He wondered if he could tell the story of this brutal war through the eyes of a horse. War Horse first published in England in 1982. The story of Joey, who was lovingly cared for by Albert but mistreated by Albert's drunken father, who sold the horse to the British military, eventually made its way to the United States. Scholastic published it in 2007. The story was adapted into a play to great acclaim. In 2010, Steven Speilberg released his movie adaptation. In 2012, a sequel called Farm Boy was released. Michael Morpurgo has written over a hundred books for children and has received many awards.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Picture Book Review: Storm by Sam Usher


Storm by Sam Usher. unpgd. Templar Books/ Candlewick Press, August, 2018.9781536202823. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Our favorite little redheaded boy and his doting granddad are back in another lovely flight of fancy. This time, the boy awakens to wind rattling the windows and he just cannot wait to get outside. When he suggests all the things the two could do in the wind, granddad suggests that "It's the perfect day to fly a kite! But we'll have to find it first." While the wind blows mightily, the two search high and low for the kite and stop to reminisce about everything they do find, like a cricket bat. When the kite is finally found, they bundle up and head out to the park where the wind gathers all the kite fliers and whisks them into the sky for a swirling, twirling adventure.

The ink and watercolor art is glorious from cover to cover. Funny little details are embedded on most pages and invite lingering. Every child needs imaginary play and a granddad like this. Share this one and all the "Granddad" books, Snow, Sun, and Rain widely.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

I have a "Waiting on Wednesday" post scheduled for November 21 that features Lynda Mullaly Hunt's upcoming book, Shouting at the Rain, which had a cover reveal recently and made me very excited because I adored One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree. This morning, Lynda's tweet about her huge giveaway came up in my feed and I just have to spread the word even if it does decrease my chances of winning. Click on this link to check it out!

What's New? Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:


Summer of '69 by Todd Strasser. 376 p. Candlewick Press, April 9, 2019. 9780763695262.

Publisher synopsis: With his girlfriend, Robin, away in Canada, eighteen-year-old Lucas Baker’s only plans for the summer are to mellow out with his friends, smoke weed, drop a tab or two, and head out in his microbus for a three-day happening called the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. But life veers dramatically off track when he suddenly finds himself in danger of being drafted and sent to fight in Vietnam. If that isn’t heavy enough, there’s also the free-loving (and undeniably alluring) Tinsley, who seems determined to test Lucas’s resolve to stay faithful to Robin; a frighteningly bad trip at a Led Zeppelin concert; a run-in with an angry motorcycle gang; parents who appear headed for a divorce; and a friend on the front lines in ’Nam who’s in mortal danger of not making it back. As the pressures grow, it’s not long before Lucas finds himself knocked so far down, it’s starting to look like up to him. When tuning in, turning on, and dropping out is no longer enough, what else is there?


Mother Tongue by Julie Mayhew. 280 p. Candlewick Press, August, 2019. 97801536202632.

Publisher synopsis: If you leave home, is your heart left behind? 

Darya Ivanova is looking forward to September. She has looked after her little sister, Nika, since she was a baby. Now Nika is starting school. Maybe Darya can find a job with her own tidy desk. Perhaps even a boyfriend. But when an unimaginable tragedy strikes, Darya's life plans are fractured. Stalled. She is afraid. What if she never knows real love? What if she never finds somewhere she belongs?

If only she could get to Moscow. There, Darya could escape. There, she could become someone else . . . 


Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner. 352 p. Candlewick Press, April 16, 2019. 97807636536297563. 

Publisher synopsis: In a novel in two voices, a popular teen and an artistic loner forge an unlikely bond — and create an entire universe — via texts. But how long before the real world invades Starworld?

Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?


Purchased: 

Pride: a Pride and Prejudice remix by Ibi Zoboi. Unabridged audiobook on 5 compact discs. 6.5 hours. Performed by Elizabeth Acevedo. HarperAudio, September 18, 2018. 9781982554163.

Publisher synopsis: Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color, from Ibi Zoboi, National Book Award finalist and author of American Street.

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

In a timely update of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi skillfully balances cultural identity, class, and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic.


The Key to Everything by Pat Schmatz. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3-CD. 3 hours. Read by Bahni Turpin. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, May, 2018. 9781543687958. 

Publisher synopsis: Tash didn't want to go to camp, didn't want to spend the summer with a bunch of strangers, didn't want to be separated from the only two people she has ever been able to count on: her uncle Kevin, who saved her from foster care, and Cap'n Jackie, who lives next door. Camp turns out to be pretty fun, actually, but when Tash returns home, Cap'n Jackie is gone. And Tash needs her — the made-up stories of dolphin-dragons, the warm cookies that made everything all right after a fight, the key Cap'n Jackie always insisted had magic in it. The Captain always said all Tash had to do was hold it tight and the magic would come. Was it true? Could the key bring Cap'n Jackie back? In a heartfelt and stunningly written story, Pat Schmatz introduces readers to a tenacious, fiercely loyal girl struggling to let go of the fantasies and fears of her childhood . . . and say yes to everything that lies ahead.


Failing Up: how to take risks, aim higher and never stop learning by Leslie Odom, Jr. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3-CD. 3 hours, 35 minutes. Performed by the author. Brilliance Audio, August, 2018. 9781978651180.

Publisher synopsis: Leslie Odom Jr. burst on the scene in 2015, originating the role of Aaron Burr in the Broadway musical phenomenon Hamilton. Since then he has performed for sold-out audiences, sung for the Obamas at the White House, and won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical. But before he landed the role of a lifetime in one of the biggest musicals of all time, Odom put in years of hard work as a singer and an actor.

With personal stories from his life, Odom asks the questions that will help you unlock your true potential and achieve your goals even when they seem impossible. What work did you put in today that will help you improve tomorrow? How do you surround yourself with people who will care about your dreams as much as you do? How do you know when to play it safe and when to risk it all for something bigger and better?

These stories will inspire you, motivate you, and empower you for the greatness that lies ahead, whether you're graduating from college, starting a new job, or just looking to live each day to the fullest.

If you leave a comment, I will definitely stop by and try to comment back - unless commenters have to sign onto Discus or whatever that's called. But I will check out your stack!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Fact Friday: Woodpeckers: drilling holes & bagging bugs by Sneed B. Collard III


Woodpeckers: drilling holes & bagging bugs by Sneed B. Collard III. 48 p. Bucking Horse Books, April, 2018. 9780984446094. (Review of purchased finished copy.)

I nearly skipped Fact Friday as my nonfiction reading has taken a nose-dive thanks to all the reading I am needing to do as a round one Cybils judge. But, after finishing two entries this morning, my mind needed a break from middle grade fiction. I unearthed this book from the bottom of my tbr pile and settled in.

Conversational and punny, this book is a fantastic introduction to the members of the Picidae family. Beautifully designed, well organized and filled with a - mazing photographs, this one has the awe factor. Backmatter includes suggestions for learning more, a glossary, some photo bloopers (!) and an index. My one teeny-tiny quibble has to do with the desire for a map or list at the back showing the regions the woodpeckers can be found it. Some, like the Gila Woodpeckers and the two-page section about woodpeckers found abroad, are obvious. But I had to head for my Field Guide to find out whether I could see the Acorn Woodpecker or the Lewis' Woodpecker in my area. Alas, no.

I have enjoyed the author/ photographer's earlier books. Here's a link to Firebirds, which I found fascinating.

Mr. Collard laments the fact that there aren't any good books about woodpeckers for children in the section called, "Tapping Deeper." He has filled this void magnificently. Woodpeckers: drilling holes & bagging bugs is a first-purchase, as are his other titles.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

#tbt: Mick Harte was Here by Barbara Park


Mick Harte was Here by Barbara Park. 89 p. Random House Children's Books, March, 1995. 978069970880. (own)

#tbt features Mick Hart was Here by Barbara Park. Published in 1995, this novella is the first person narration of thirteen-year-old Phoebe talks about her brother, Mick and his decision to forgo wearing a helmet and the impact his death has had on their family and the community. This is a short, powerful, emotional read.