Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Tales from the Brothers Grimm: Selected and Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

96 p. minedition, October 1, 2013. 9789888240531.

Publisher synopsis:  A gorgeous collection of familiar and lesser-known Grimm tales, illustrated by one of the greatest children’s illustrators of our time
This handsome edition from the well-known collection of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm contains 11 popular stories. Old favorites such as “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Bremen Town Musicians” are included as are some lesser-known stories such as “The Seven Ravens” and “Hans My Hedgehog.” Lisbeth Zwerger’s evocative and exquisite illustrations perfectly capture the mood of these enduring tales.

I learned about this thanks to Betsy Bird a few weeks ago. I adore Lisbeth Zwerger's work and still collect fairy tale editions though my children long grown. I will be getting this for both my school and personal collections.
I must say, though, that I'm not sure that "The Bremen Town Musicians" is particularly well-known. Some time ago, I polled all my classes at the K -8 school I worked in about my students familiarity with that fairy tale. Only one or two students knew it. It happens to have been a childhood favorite of both mine and my husband's so my sons all grew up hearing it. In fact, I was thrilled to find this
in the Chinaberry catalog many, many years ago.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

StS is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got.

For review/ blog tour:

For the Good of Mankind? The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein.96 p. Twenty-First Century Books/ Lerner, October 28, 2013. 9781467706599. (Review copy provided by publicist in exchange for participation in blog tour in early November.)

For review:

Ever After High: the storybook of legends by Shannon Hale. 304 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 8, 2013. 9780316401227.

Publisher synopsis: At Ever After High, an enchanting boarding school, the children of fairytale legends prepare themselves to fulfill their destinies as the next generation of Snow Whites, Prince Charmings and Evil Queens...whether they want to or not. Each year on Legacy Day, students sign the Storybook of Legends to seal their scripted fates. For generations, the Village of Book End has whispered that refusing to sign means The End-both for a story and for a life.
As the daughter of the Evil Queen, Raven Queen's destiny is to follow in her mother's wicked footsteps, but evil is so not Raven's style. She's starting to wonder, what if she rewrote her own story? The royal Apple White, daughter of the Fairest of Them All, has a happy ever after planned for herself, but it depends upon Raven feeding her a poison apple in their future.
What if Raven doesn't sign the Storybook of Legends? It could mean a happily never after for them both. 

The Fantastic Family Whipple by Matthew Ward. 400 p. Razor Bill/ Penguin Group (USA) Inc., August, 2013. 9781595146892.

Publisher synopsis: For every child who’s ever dreamed of being in the Guinness Book of World Records comes the story of eleven-year-old Arthur Whipple and his fantastic family of world record breakers . . .
- Most Crème Brulée Eaten in One Minute
- Highest Number of Matching Outfits Worn by a Stuffed Toy and Its Owner
- Youngest Person to Summit the Third-Highest Mountain in the World
These are just three of the 49,521 records won by Arthur’s twelve brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, unlike his siblings, Arthur hasn’t broken a single, solitary world record! But when the Whipples suffer a spate of catastrophes and a curious amount of attention from a pair of irregularly sized and unusually menacing clowns, Arthur might be the only one who can save his family from losing their collective crown . . . or worse.

Won: Thanks to Karen from Ms. Yingling Reads. I won a copy of:

Ship out of Luck by Neal Shusterman. 293 p. Dutton Children's Books/ Penguin Group (USA) Inc., June, 2013.  9780525422266.

Publisher synopsis: The uproarius companion to "The Schwa was Here" and "Antsy Does Time"
In honor of Old Man Crawley’s eightieth birthday, the Bonano family has been invited to celebrate with a weeklong cruise to the Caribbean aboard the world’s largest, grandest ship. But whether on land or at sea, Antsy can’t manage to stay out of trouble: He quickly finds himself the accomplice of stowaway and thief Tilde, whose self-made mission it is to smuggle onto the ship and across the U.S. border illegal immigrants from her native Mexico. When Antsy steps in to take the fall for Tilde, he becomes the focus of a major international incident and the poster child for questionable decisions.
Equal parts clever and riotous, Ship Out of Luck brings back the beloved cast of characters from Neal Shusterman’s acclaimed The Schwa Was Here and Antsy Does Time.
That's what's new with me. What's new with you? Happy reading!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Memes - Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco. 329 p. Alfred A. Knopf/ Random House Children's Books, February, 2013. 9780375968365. 

Publisher synopsis: Bee is an orphan who lives with a carnival and sleeps in the back of a tractor trailer. Every day she endures taunts for the birthmark on her face—though her beloved Pauline, the only person who has ever cared for her, tells her it is a precious diamond. When Pauline is sent to work for another carnival, Bee is lost.
Then a scruffy dog shows up, as unwanted as she, and Bee realizes that she must find a home for them both. She runs off to a house with gingerbread trim that reminds her of frosting. There two mysterious women, Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Potter, take her in. They clothe her, though their clothes are strangely out of date. They feed her, though there is nothing in their house to eat. They help her go to school, though they won't enter the building themselves. And, strangely, only Bee seems able to see them.
Whoever these women are, they matter. They matter to Bee. And they are helping Bee realize that she, too, matters to the world—if only she will let herself be a part of it.
This tender novel beautifully captures the pain of isolation, the healing power of community, and the strength of the human spirit.  

First Line: The way I got the diamond on my face happened like this.

Page 56: As soon as I enter the woods and start climbing, I am running through cement. My lungs are two sloshing buckets of water. When I reach the stone wall I inch myself up and over and then flop onto my side, I am so out of breath. Peabody lies down beside me and whines. I watch a beetle and a butterfly, and feel just like Cordelia.

I've read some nice reviews of this book and it was on my tbr list but I'm reading it right now at the request of a parent. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles of books we are eagerly anticipating.

The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney. 40 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, October 1, 2013. 9780316183567.

Publisher synopsis: This companion to the Caldecott Medal-winning The Lion & the Mouse is Jerry Pinkney's most stunning masterpiece yet. Even the slowest tortoise can defeat the quickest hare, and even the proudest hare can learn a timeless lesson from the most humble tortoise: Slow and steady wins the race! Here is a superbly rendered journey from starting line to finish that embodies the bravery, perseverance, and humility we can all find inside ourselves.

I am such a fan of Jerry Pinkney. Love, love, loved his Noah's Ark and was so disappointed that it just got a Caldecott Honor instead of the medal and was so very happy that Lion & Mouse finally won this incredible artist the gold. I actually saw an fng at the Little Brown spring preview, so I already know that it's totally brilliant. I can't wait to own the hardcover.

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Audio Review: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Narrated by Katherine Kellgren. Unabridged audiobook on 7 CDS. 8 hours, 1 minute. Macmillan Audio, September, 2012. 9781427222176. (Audiobook obtained at Odyssey reception at ALA Annual)

This 2013 Odyssey Honor tells two stories seamlessly. In 1873, a young naturalist named Ezra Doyle discovers a mermaid named Syrenka during his journeys along the coast off Plymouth, Massachusetts. The two fall in love and meet secretly until they are discovered by a fisherman, whose nets happen to ensnare Syrenka. 

In modern-day Plymouth, seventeen-year-old Hester lives with the knowledge that all of her female relatives, her mother, grandmother and reaching back for generations have died within days of giving birth to their daughters. So Hester closed off her heart to the possibility of romance, choosing to ignore the signals that her best friend Peter is giving and hating the fact that she is hurting him. All her resolve weakens when she meets Ezra on the beach one night. It is through Ezra that Hester begins to piece together the beginnings of the curse that befell her family.

For some reason, I nearly abandoned this before the end of the first disk. I found either the performance or the language a bit overwrought. While I have loved most of Kellgren's performances, I wasn't a fan of her narration of the Kane Chronicles, so I may have brought some of that bias to this listening. I'm glad I stuck it out though because I was soon immersed in both worlds and very eager to learn the outcome. 

Kellgren seemed to dial back a bit and settle into what she does best, accents. Each character had a unique and distinct voice. I also thought the pacing was perfect. I wanted her to hurry up a bit, instead of feeling like I was being yanked along at a breathless pace. 

As mermaids stories go, I was glad that Elizabeth Fama kept hers "real." These were wild creatures with fangs and claws who hunt for subsistence. But the most jarring violence is the human reaction. Olaf, the fisherman brutally rapes Syrenka and impregnates her. It is mainly this scene which pushes the readership of this lovely, dark and tragic tale into high school though a mature and thoughtful eighth grader could handle it. 

The worldbuilding in both times is vivid. All the characters are so well drawn, even the minor ones. I so wanted more of the pastor and Peter. I've been to Plimouth Plantation three or four times because I help chaperon the seventh grade trip to Boston and there. I felt she captured the occasional awkwardness of the reactions of young teens well as well as describing the place and its juxtaposition in the real world. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

StS is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got.

For review: 

The Nazi Hunters: how a team of spies and survivors captured the world's most notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb. 241 p. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., August, 2013. 9780545430999.

Publisher synopsis: A thrilling spy mission, a moving Holocaust story, and a first-class work of narrative nonfiction.
In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis' Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century's most important trials -- one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination.
THE NAZI HUNTERS is the thrilling and fascinating story of what happened between these two events. Survivor Simon Wiesenthal opened Eichmann's case; a blind Argentinean and his teenage daughter provided crucial information. Finally, the Israeli spies -- many of whom lost family in the Holocaust -- embarked on their daring mission, recounted here in full. Based on the adult bestseller HUNTING EICHMANN, which is now in development as a major film, and illustrated with powerful photos throughout, THE NAZI HUNTERS is a can't-miss work of narrative nonfiction for middle-grade and YA readers.

Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow. 341 p. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc. October 29, 2013. 9780545166669.

Publisher's synopsis: In the world of SORROW'S KNOT, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry, something deadly. Most of the people of this world live on the sunlit, treeless prairies. But a few carve out an uneasy living in the forest towns, keeping the dead at bay with wards made from magically knotted cords. The women who tie these knots are called binders. And Otter's mother, Willow, is one of the greatest binders her people have ever known.
But Willow does not wish for her daughter to lead the lonely, heavy life of a binder, so she chooses another as her apprentice. Otter is devastated by this choice, and what's more, it leaves her untrained when the village falls under attack. In a moment of desperation, Otter casts her first ward, and the results are disastrous. But now Otter may be her people's only hope against the shadows that threaten them. Will the challenge be too great for her? Or will she find a way to put the dead to rest once and for all?

That's what's new with me. What's new with you? Happy reading! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Memes - Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick. 325 p. Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., April, 2013. 9780545464260.

Publisher synopsis: A book that will make you see yourself clearly for the first time.
When Becky Randle's mother dies, she's whisked from her trailer park home to New York. There she meets Tom Kelly, the world's top designer, who presents Becky with an impossible offer: He'll design three dresses to transform the very average Becky into the most beautiful woman who ever lived.
Soon Becky is remade as Rebecca - pure five-alarm hotness to the outside world and an awkward mess of cankles and split ends when she's alone. With Rebecca's remarkable beauty as her passport, soon Becky's life resembles a fairy tale. She stars in a movie, VOGUE calls, and she starts to date Prince Gregory, heir to the English throne. That's when everything crumbles. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But the idea of a prince looking past Rebecca's blinding beauty to see the real girl inside? There's not enough magic in the world.
Defiant, naughty, and impossibly fun, GORGEOUS answers a question that bewilders us all: Just who the hell IS that in the mirror?

First line: Well, first three, to give a sample of the tone. 

I grew up in what some people would call a mobile home and what other, snobbier people might call a manufactured home, but I was always fine with calling it a trailer. That's right, I said I grew up in a trailer. Fuck you.

Page 56: 
"Rocher, please, I'm not being a bitch or a snob, but there's something I have to do, right now. And I can't even really explain it but can I call you back?"

"Okay, but first you just have to answer me one thing and you have to sweat to tell me the God's honest motherfucking truth."


"Where can I fucking buy that dress?"

Alrighty then. It's early yet so the jury's still out on middle school appropriateness. Maybe eighth grade only. But I love the voice and snark and man, am I laughing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, in which we share the titles of books we are eagerly anticipating.

Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron. 384 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, September 26, 2013. 9780399257575.

Publisher synopsis: 
In a magical land called Ellegandia, a young boy named Promi scrapes by, stealing pies, cakes and sweets to survive. But little does he know that his country is a pawn in an ages-old war between good and evil, battled both in the spirit realm and in the human world. Harboring secrets of his own, Promi teams up with a courageous girl named Atlanta and the two vow to save their land—and each other—no matter the cost. But their vow has greater repercussions than they ever could imagine—in fact, it may just bring about the creation of Atlantis, an island cut off from the rest of the world, where magic reigns supreme.
With his trademark action, adventure, and poignancy,master of fantasy, T.A. Barron explores a new mythology—the origin of the legendary isle of Atlantis. This book is perfect for fans of Rick Riordan, Brandon Mull, Christopher Paolini and, of course, T. A. Barron’s Merlin Saga.

I have been a fan of Barron's ever since I stumbled upon his Young Merlin series early in my school librarian career. I love King Arthur stories and retellings. The idea of imagining Merlin as a young boy just coming in to his powers just tickled me. 
When an eighth grade self-professed, "I hate to read but need to read a book for English and take an Accelerated Reader test," I told him I had just the book he needed. He gave me the bushy eyebrow that said, "We'll see." 
I was surprised to see him a day or so later and asked, "You didn't like it?" He smiled and said it was the best book he ever read, asked to take the test and wanted the next book. By the way, he aced the Accelerated Reader test and he read all seven books in the series.
He was one of my first "I hate to read and what are you gonna do about it?" successes. I'm not always successful but it sure does feel great when I am. This kid would be about 28 or 29 now. I'm not sure if he would remember this encounter, but I always will.

The author is a huge supporter of teachers and librarians so be sure to visit his website and/or subscribe to his newsletter. He's got discussion guides and lots of extras on his website

Link to book trailer.

What are you waiting on?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty

(Jessica Darling's It List Series #1.) 228 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September, 2013. 9780316244992. (Review from arc provided by the publisher)

Jessica Darling, star of Megan McCafferty's "Sloppy Series" gets a rewind in this new middle grade friendly series. While I have the first three "Sloppy" books in my library, I have not read them, and they haven't circulated much in the last four years so I was not one of the squealers at the table when it was booktalked at a preview though I was interested. I put the book on TOM, as I affectionately named my "to be read" "pile," and figured I get to it.

Well. It sure was the right book at the right time for me. I read about a month back and featured it in a Friday meme, but realized that I never posted a review. I pulled it off TOM in early August because I had been reading a bunch of serious books and had also received a bit of medical bad news. I decided that I needed some fun. Jessica is just what the doctor ordered.

This book was fun. Jessica is totally hilarious. Her insecurities and angst ring true. New-to-middle-school and/or friendship-changing books are a staple of children's literature. Make room on your shelf for this series. It's gentle and positive. Oh, and, did I mention, totally hilarious?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

StS is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got.

These came in the mail this week:

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell. 307 p. Amulet Books/ Abrams, October 1, 2013. 9781419709302. 

Publisher synopsis: Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she's known) decides to complete the dead girl's bucket list to prove that choice, no chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed-a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy-particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. 

I had already picked this up at Annual (and featured it in an STS). I'm happy to mail this duplicate out. Leave a comment with your email encrypted. If there are more than one interested, I'll pick from a hat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Memes - The Saturday Boy by David Fleming

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

The Saturday Boy by David Fleming. 261 p. Viking Juvenile/ Penguin Group (USA) Inc., June 13, 2013. 9780670785513.

Publisher synopsis: If there's one thing I've learned from comic books, it's that everybody has a weakness—something that can totally ruin their day without fail.
For the wolfman it's a silver bullet.
For Superman it's Kryptonite.
For me it was a letter.
With one letter, my dad was sent back to Afghanistan to fly Apache helicopters for the U.S. army.
Now all I have are his letters. Ninety-one of them to be exact. I keep them in his old plastic lunchbox—the one with the cool black car on it that says Knight Rider underneath. Apart from my comic books, Dad's letters are the only things I read more than once. I know which ones to read when I'm down and need a pick-me-up. I know which ones will make me feel like I can conquer the world. I also know exactly where to go when I forget Mom's birthday. No matter what, each letter always says exactly what I need to hear. But what I want to hear the most is that my dad is coming home.

First line: It was a rainy and cold morning and the bus was late and so was Budgie.

Page 56: Mr. Putnam rolled the r the say Señora Cruz likes us to when we're doing Spanish. I couldn't do it right. Either I would roll the r enough or i'd roll it too much and end up spitting on someone by accident. Don't ask me how it happened but it did.

I found this today in one of my Junior Library Guild boxes so I brought it home with me. It intrigued, plus it's a debut.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Blog Tour - Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills - Review

I have the honor of being a stop on the blog tour for Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills. About a month ago, I had just read a blog review of it and jotted the title down for my book order, when I received an invitation to be a stop on this tour. My review is below but be sure and check out the author's guest post about the ritual of writing, which I will also be sharing with the language arts department.

231 p. Margaret Ferguson Books/ Farrar Straus Giroux, June 18, 2013. 9780374333126. (Review from arc provided by publicist)

Seventh grader Sierra Shepard is every parent and teacher's dream. She's kind, if a bit smug and self-satisfied, self-motivated, high-achieving, organized and already on the fast-track to the Ivies with an impeccable resume of student leadership and activities. When she discovers that she inadvertently took her mother's lunch to school and there was a paring knife in the bag, Sierra immediately turns the knife in. Supremely confident that she has done the right thing and that surely, the school's "Zero Tolerance" policy does not pertain in her case, Sierra is shocked and dismayed to learn that it does.

This means serving an in-school suspension with the likes of Luke Bishop, bad-boy and cut-up. It also means she can't attend a prestigious vocal competition in addition to a host of other school events. But Sierra's high-powered lawyer father is not one to take this sitting down. He contacts the media and creates a very public battleground, including digging up some dirt on the principal.

I swallowed this one in one big gulp. Not only is the topic totally timely, but everything about the story is well done and relatable. The dialogue rings true and the characters ring true. There are some nice moments of authentic distractions, such as Sierra's preoccupation with her crush, Colin and her interactions with her frenemy, Celeste. There's also a fair amount of humor that anyone who has spent any time in a middle school will recognize. Most importantly, Ms. Mills lays out the variety of perspectives and allows the reader to draw their own conclusions.

This would make for a great class read-aloud. Teachers would not need to pry reaction from their students. I can envision many a lively discussion and requests for "one more chapter." But just in case you don't feel comfortable with spontaneous, the author provides a discussion guide here.

Visit the author's website here.

Upcoming stops on the tour:
September 4: Read Now, Sleep Later
September 6: The Book Monsters
September 9: Once Upon a Story
September 10: Pass the Chiclets 
September 11: The Late Bloomer's Book Club
September 12: Mother Daughter Book Club
September 13: The Children's Book Review
September 15: Nerdy Book Club
September 16: Geo Librarian
September 17: A Life Bound by Books

Kirkus, Booklist and SLJ all gave Zero Tolerance positive reviews.

Other blog reviews:
Richie's Picks
Secrets and Sharing Soda
Book Loving Mom

I almost missed this bit, but I hear that there are copies available for giving away to U.S. addresses only. Please leave a comment below if you're interested in participating.

And don't forget to click here for Ms. Mills' guest post.

Blog Tour - Zero Tolerance - Author Guest Post - The Power of Ritual

The Power of Ritual

by Claudia Mills

            Of the almost fifty books I have written for children, Zero Tolerance is the most timely. It is the only book I’ve written that was inspired by an actual news story: a few years ago a local middle school expelled an honor student for bringing an apple-cutting knife to school by mistake. Zero tolerance polices are in the news now on a regular basis, as proponents and detractors debate how best to keep schools and students safe.

            So in writing Zero Tolerance I ended up with a book about a “hot” topic, the only time in my career I’ve ever done so. (Usually I write about small, timeless problems, like trying to talk your parents into letting you have a pet hamster, or trying to win a schoolwide reading contest). But I wrote the book, as I write all my books, in an extremely old-fashioned, habit-bound, and ritualistic way.

            Decades into my writing career, I still write my books by hand. I write on a clipboard—a very old, dented clipboard that doesn’t even have its clip any more. If my house in Boulder, Colorado, was threatened  by a forest fire, this clipboard would be one of the first things I’d try to save. I’m not sure I could write a book without it.

            I always use the same kind of paper: pads of narrow-ruled white paper (where I panic if the pads I order online have lines that are slightly too light or too dark). I always use the same kind of pen: a Pilot Razor-Point fine-tipped black marker pen. (More panic a few years ago when Office Depot and Office Max stopped carrying these pens in their stores, and great rejoicing when I discovered I could still get them through I write lying down, on a couch or in bed. I always drink the same beverage as I write: Swiss Miss hot chocolate. I always drink it in the same mug.

            In her wonderful book The Creative Habit, choreographer Twyla Tharpe talks about the importance of “rituals of preparation.” Doing the same thing in the same way “habitualizes it” and makes it that much easier to do, and harder to skip. “First steps are hard,” Twyla writes. So “it’s vital to establish some rituals—automatic but decisive patterns of behavior—at the beginning of the creative process, when you are most at peril of turning back, chickening out, giving up, or going the wrong way.
            As I wrote Zero Tolerance, I was in largely uncharted territory for myself, writing a book with subject matter that presented new challenges, unsure myself what would happen in the course of the story: Would Sierra be expelled or not? By the end of the book, would she even care? For the most part, I wrote blind, groping my way toward the finish, knowing how much I’d need to go back and revise when that first draft was done.

            But at least I had the comfort of knowing that I’d be doing my groping on my well-worn clipboard, scribbling on a pad of narrow-ruled paper with a Pilot Razor Point pen, while drinking Swiss Miss hot chocolate in a flowered mug. And, as Twyla Tharpe tells us, that makes all the difference.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday - From Norvelt to Nowhere

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we are eagerly anticipating.

From Norvelt to Nowhere by Jack Gantos. 288 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, September 24, 2013. 9780374379940.

Publisher synopsis: This rocket-paced follow-up to the Newbery Medal–winning novel Dead End in Norvelt opens deep in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis. But instead of Russian warheads, other kinds of trouble are raining down on young Jack Gantos and his utopian town of Norvelt in western Pennsylvania. After an explosion, a new crime by an old murderer, and the sad passing of the town’s founder, twelve-year-old Jack will soon find himself launched on a mission that takes him hundreds of miles away, escorting his slightly mental elderly mentor, Miss Volker, on her relentless pursuit of the oddest of outlaws. But as their trip turns south in more ways than one, it’s increasingly clear that the farther from home they travel, the more off-the-wall Jack and Miss Volker’s adventure becomes, in From Norvelt to Nowhere, a raucous road novel about roots and revenge, a last chance at love, and the power of a remarkable friendship.

I happen to adore Jack Gantos and, while I loved Dead End in Norvelt, I can't get my students to try it out.

What are you waiting on?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Taking Stock - August

Total Posts: 20
Total Books Read This Month: 22
Total Books Read This Year: 288

Audio Books: 5/ 55
Debut Author: 1/ 18
Mount TBR Challenge: 1/17
Picture Books: 0/ 51

The Good: My reading did fall way off this month, but I'm still happy that I got the reading done that I did considering the reasons behind it all.

The Bad: Not dwelling on anything negative for the time being.

August (22)
266. (68) The Real Boy by Anne Ursu (8/1)
267. (69) Extremities by David Lubar (8/4)
268. (70) In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz (8/4)
269. (71) Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (8/6)*
270. (72) The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin (8/7)*
271. (73) Jessica Darling's It List #1: the (totally not) guaranteed guide to popularity, prettiness & perfection by Megan McCafferty (8/9)*
272. (74) I'm with Stupid by Geoff Herbach (8/9)
273. (75) Guys Read: Other Worlds, edited by Jon Scieszka (8/11)
274. (76) Antsy Does Time by Neal Shusterman (8/11)
275. (77) Disasters: a close-up look at nature's biggest disasters by David Burnie (8/12)
276. (78) Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz (8/12)
277. (79) Duke by Kirby Larson (8/13)
278. (80) Out of This Place by Emma Cameron (8/14)
279. (81) Lockwood & Co.: the screaming staircase by Jonathan Stroud (8/17)*
280. (82) Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (8/19)*
281. (83) Winter of the Robots by Kurtis Scaletta (8/20) (SLJ)
282. (84) Second Impact by David Klass and Perri Klass (8/22)
283. (85) Bone: quest for the spark (book #3) by Tom Sniegoski (8/22)
284. (86) Playing with Fire by Bruce Hale (8/23)
285. (87) The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (8/23)*
286. (88) Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz (8/29)
287. (89) Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills (8/31)
288. (90) Fallout by Todd Strasser (8/31)