Friday, November 30, 2018

Taking Stock - November

I can't believe we are staring down the end of 2018! 

Total Books: 38/ 342

Total Posts: 33
Total Reviews: 15

Debut: 6/ 20
Audio: 12/87
Picture Books: 9/111

The Good: Reading A. Lot. of middle grade fiction for my CYBILS round one judging! 

The Bad: Still have a lot to read for my round one judging! It's all pretty darn good! Also, I blew Picture Book Month! 

The List:
304. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green (11/1)*
305. This is the Day! By Amy Parker (11/1)
306. Bunny’s Staycation (Mama’s Business Trip) by Lori Richmond (11/2)
308. Rabbit Moon by Jean Kim (11/3)
309. Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (11/3)*
310. Sleep, My Bunny by Rosemary Wells (11/4)
311. A Truck Full of Ducks by Ross Burach (11/4)
312. The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier (11/5)
313. Write to Me: letters from Japanese American Children to the librarian they left behind by Cynthia Grady (11/5)
315. Squirm by Carl Hiaasen (11/8)*
316. Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina (11/8)
317. My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson (11/8)
318. If This Were a Story by Beth Turley (11/9)
319. Strongheart by Candace Fleming & Eric Rohmann (11/9)
320. Woodpeckers: drilling holes and bagging bugs by Sneed B. Collard III (11/9)*
321. Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein (11/9)*
322. Storm by Sam Usher (11/9)
323. Captain Superlative by J.S. Puller (11/9)
324. SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson (11/11)*
325. The Perfect Score by Rob Buyea (11/11)
326. Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (11/14)
327. The Key to Every Thing by Pat Schmatz (11/14)
328. Daphne Definitely Does Not Do Drama by Tami Charles (11/17)
329. Eliza Bing is (Not) a Star by Carmella Van Vleet (11/17)
330. Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold (11/18)*
331. One True Way by Shannon Hitchcock (11/18)
332. Just Like Jackie by Lindsay Stoddard (11/18)
333. The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (11/20)*
334. The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle (11/22)*
335. The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm (11/23)
336. Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe by Jo Watson Hackl (11/24)
337. P. S. I Still Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy (11/25)
338. Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman (11/25)*
339. Made by Hand: a crafts sampler by Carole Lexa Schaefer (11/27)
340. Zora and Me: the cursed ground by T. R. Simon (11/30)*

342. Wimpy Kid 13: Meltdown by Jeff Kinney (11/30)

Fact Friday and Review: Avalanche Dog Heroes: Piper and friends learn to search the snow by Elizabeth Rusch

Avalanche Dog Heroes: Piper and friends learn to search the snow by Elizabeth Rusch. 50 p. Little Big Foot/ Sasquatch Books, October, 2018. 9781632171733. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Let me start right out by saying that this is a terrific book! I'm a dog lover and a skier and admit I was inclined to like it. It was not a problem being objective however. This is a beautifully designed, informative book!

Let's start with the photos. They are crisp, clear, full-color and plentiful from front cover to back. There's at least one on every page showing the dogs (mostly Piper) in training on the mountain. The scenery is gorgeous! There are plenty of text boxes and diagrams to further explain/ illustrate finer points, such as a dog's sense of smell or the anatomy of an avalanche. The narrative is peppy, conversational and informative. Readers learn all about Piper, her canine buddies, her handlers and her day of training. 

Backmatter includes directions for making your own tug toy as well as instructions for training your dog to tug. Resources include books and websites to learn more. An additional page provides an educator's guide for group discussion and activities. 

Avalanche Dog Heroes is a fine addition to any collection. Display it prominently and it won't sit. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

#tbt: The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupéry

The Little Prince 75th Anniversary Edition by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, October, 2018. 9781328479754.

#tbt features The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This novella was originally published in France in 1943. It is narrated by someone called the Pilot who crash landed in a desert and meets a strange assortment of beings. It is supposedly the most widely translated (300 languages) and best selling book of all time. It has been adapted for film, as well as a graphic novel and pop-up book. Tragically, the author, who was also an aviator was shot down over the African front in 1944. He was forty-four-years-old.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Give and Take by Elly Swartz

Give and Take by Elly Swartz. 176 p. Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR, October 15, 2019. 9780374308216.

Publisher synopsis: When eleven-year-old Maggie's parents become foster parents for a new baby, her tendency to hoard spirals out of control.

I absolutely adored this author's debut and sophomore titles. Finding Perfect and Smart Cookie and am so-o excited for this!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. Unabridged audiobook on nine compact discs. ~11 hours. Performed by the authors, Jenni Barber, Noah Galvin, Michael Crouch, Kivilighan de Montebello and Candace Thaxton. Simon & Schuster Audio, 2018. 9781508263081. (Review of audio cd borrowed from public library. Own hc.)

Teen Tuesday features Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. This gripping novel is told in present tense from multiple perspectives and takes place in a scarily possible near future in southern California. Water shortages have caused farms to fail and lawns and pools to go dry; but one day, without warning, it stops flowing. At first, residents take it in stride and pile into their cars for a trip to Costco. But when seemingly plentiful cartons of bottled water can't be obtained, ordinary people, when desperate do despicable things. And, that is only the beginning. Not only will reading this make you terribly thirsty, you may want to start hoarding bottles of water the way that the book, Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer made the reader want to stock up on canned goods. As the copy asks, what would you do for the last drop of water?

This was a seat-of-your-pants read! One which, if you are reading with your eyes, you might read in one tense sitting. If you are reading with your ears, as I was, it made a marathon raking session fly by. The audio performances were fantastic. The five points-of-view weave seamlessly with each other and occasional "snapshots," narrated by the authors. Boy, does Michael Crouch have that creepy guy vibe nailed.

Dry is a must-read! Recommend it to everyone possible. Definitely hand it to teens to love apocalyptic stories like Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It series. It's timely and oh so possible.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm

The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm. Unabridged downloadable audiobook. ~3 hours. Read by Georgette Perna. Listening Library, September, 2018. 9780525636168. (Review of audiobook borrowed from public library. Own hc.)

This sequel/ companion to The Fourteenth Goldfish was a pleasant read. It was great to revisit Ellie and her irascible grandfather, Melvin. I just love a smart mc, especially a girl who unabashedly loves science. I also love how fascinating science history is woven into the narrative and spelled out at the end of the story! 

Melvin moves back in just in time to team up with Ellie for the science fair. While he's still a bit outrageous and still stinks, Melvin might be mellowing. Ellie also may developing feelings for her best friend, Raj and the feelings may be mutual? She and Brianna might work things out as well. 

Ellie's engaging voice sounds conversational in this gentle story of friendship, family and science. The dialogue was often humorous in that unique middle school way. Chapters are short and the book flies by. That the audiobook narrator sounded appropriately young added to the pleasure of listening.

Fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish will love this sequel.  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

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:

Curse of the Evil Librarian by Michell Knudsen. 314 p. Candlewick Press, August, 2019. 9780763694272.

Not much is out there yet. I read the first and have the second on my mountain of books to be read. 

The Three Rules of Everyday Magic by Amanda Rawson Hill.192 p. Boyds Mills Press/ Highlights, September, 2018. 9781629799407.

Publisher synopsis: Magic doesn't work the way you think it will, but it's what Kate needs as she confronts friendship trouble, her parents' divorce, and Grammy's dementia in this lyrical middle-grade coming-of-age novel for fans of Half a Chance and The Same Stuff as Stars.

Kate has trouble believing in magic, especially since the people she loves keep leaving her. But when Grammy tells her the three rules of everyday magic--believe, give, and trust--Kate can't resist believing, at least a little. Following Grammy's advice, she tries to bring her father, her best friend, and even Grammy herself back to her. Nothing turns out as Kate expects, yet the magic of giving--of trusting that if you love and give, good things will happen, even if you don't see them happen--will change Kate and her family forever. 

Made by Hand: a crafts sampler by Carole Lexa Schaefer. Illustrated by Becca Stadtlander. 48 p. Candlewick Press, October, 2018. 9780763674335.

Publisher synopsis: A beautiful, one-of-a-kind volume invites readers to marvel at the time, effort, and care that went into creating handmade toys, tools, and treasures of the past.

Whirr, buzz, hum. Before busy machines in factories turned out most of what we need and use, people crafted these items by hand. From a globe to a pie crimper, a butter churn to a rocking horse, this unique collection highlights fourteen one-of-a-kind objects — each one drafted, stitched, painted, or engraved by hand. Author Carole Lexa Schaefer draws inspiration from real historical artifacts to create thirteen short works of fiction, imagining the hands that might have made and used each item. Several artifacts can be traced to their origin, while others remain complete mysteries, making for a fascinating patchwork of fact, guesswork, and imagination. Illustrator Becca Stadtlander breathes color and charm into this handmade history, bringing to life the different objects, people, and times. The result is a singular glimpse of everyday objects and treasures alike — back when such things were made by hand.


The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3 CD. 9 hours, 40 minutes. Read by Kate Rudd. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio. 2018. 9781543687477.

Publisher synopsis: It's 1941, and tensions are rising in the United States as the Second World War rages in Europe. Eleven-year-old Gusta's life, like the world around her, is about to change. Her father, a foreign-born labor organizer, has had to flee the country, and Gusta has been sent to live in an orphanage run by her grandmother. Nearsighted, snaggletoothed Gusta arrives in Springdale, Maine, lugging her one precious possession: a beloved old French horn, her sole memento of her father. But in a family that's long on troubles and short on money, how can a girl hang on to something so valuable and yet so useless when Gusta's mill-worker uncle needs surgery to fix his mangled hand, with no union to help him pay? Inspired by her mother's fanciful stories, Gusta secretly hopes to find the coin-like "Wish" that her sea-captain grandfather supposedly left hidden somewhere. Meanwhile, even as Gusta gets to know the rambunctious orphans at the home, she feels like an outsider at her new school — and finds herself facing patriotism turned to prejudice, alien registration drives, and a family secret likely to turn the small town upside down.

The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon. Zora and Me series. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3-CD. 6 hours, 6 minutes. Read by  Channie Waites. Candlewick on Brilliance Audio. 9781978644694.

Publisher synopsis: When Zora Neale Hurston and her best friend, Carrie Brown, discover that the town mute can speak after all, they think they’ve uncovered a big secret. But Mr. Polk’s silence is just one piece of a larger puzzle that stretches back half a century to the tragic story of an enslaved girl named Lucia. As Zora’s curiosity leads a reluctant Carrie deeper into the mystery, the story unfolds through alternating narratives. Lucia’s struggle for freedom resonates through the years, threatening the future of America’s first incorporated black township — the hometown of author Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960). In a riveting coming-of-age tale, award-winning author T. R. Simon champions the strength of a people to stand up for justice.

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!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! #tbt: Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade by Trinka Hakes Noble

Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade: a Thanksgiving story by Trinka Hakes Noble. Illustrated by David C. Gardner. Tales of Young Americans series. unpgd. Sleeping Bear Press, September, 2017. 9781585369607. (Own.)

I was going to skip #tbt today. Take a break for the Thanksgiving holiday. But then this book popped into my head and even though it's only a year old (#tbt usually features books older than 10 years), I decided to review it. 

The year is 1918 and a flu epidemic is sweeping the country, especially the tightly packed immigrant communities in New York's Lower East Side. Rettie is doing her best to care for her stricken mother and four younger siblings. She's only nine and her father is off fighting in the war. She scrambles to do odd jobs to earn money and hopes to participate in the ragamuffin parade so she can collect coins. She hopes the epidemic will not cancel the parade because she wants to feed her family on Thanksgiving. 

Poignantly told and sumptuously illustrated, this tale tugs at the heartstrings. This picture book for older readers is a wonderful Thanksgiving read aloud to encourage gratitude and reflection. An author's note at the end provides historical context. Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade is a wonderful addition to any school, public or classroom library!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mulally Hunt

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Penguin Random House, May 9, 2019.

Publisher synopsis: Delsie loves tracking the weather–lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too–the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.

I adored One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree and cannot wait for this!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Teen Tuesday and Arc Review: SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

SHOUT: a poetry memoir by Laurie Halse Anderson. 290 p. Viking/ Penguin Young Readers Group, March 19, 2019. 9780670012107. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher.)

It's always a big deal when Laurie Halse Anderson has a new book out. This memoir will be published in March, around the twentieth anniversary of her Printz Honor winning, National Book Award Finalist, Speak. I read Speak when I was new to school librarianship and before I was blogging. I distinctly recall my telling anyone who would listen that it should be required reading for all rising eighth graders and their parents and teachers. It was raw. It was true. It was groundbreaking. It was needed.

Unfortunately, it is still needed as little has changed in the twenty years. Speak was somewhat unintentionally autobiographical, something Anderson was willing to keep quiet about. Until. Until she started speaking to thousands of teens all over the United States. She'd avoid answering the question about whether it had ever happened to her. Until she didn't. She respects her audience too much. 

So she shared, and, eventually SHOUT was born. Boy, do we need SHOUT! It is raw. It is true. It is groundbreaking. It most definitely is needed. I have heard Anderson speak on a variety of subjects over the years. She is a passionate truth teller and caller outer, whether it's about racism, PTSD, mental health issues or sexual assault. Her words are beautifully angry and inspiring. 

Read Speak. Read Shout. Get angry and do a little SHOUTING yourself.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: Squirm by Carl Hiassen

Squirm by Carl Hiassen. Unabridged downloadable audiobook. 7 hours. Narrated by Kirby Heybourne. Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group, September, 2018. (Audiobook borrowed from public library. Own print copy.)

Billy Dickens is a bit of an oddball. But he's an interesting one. He lives with his mother and older sister, his dad having left the family when Billy was about three. His mom doesn't talk at all about his dad, but he faithfully sends a check each month. His mom is out there as well. Though loving, she moves the family frequently. The reason? She needs to live near an active eagle family nest. Billy doesn't stay in one place for very long so he doesn't make friends. He loves nature and the outdoors. He really doesn't mind going eagle watching with his mom. He has a thing for justice and fighting for the underdog. He also loves snakes. He earned the nickname, "Snake Boy," when he used a bagful of rattlers to deter his classmates from breaking into his locker (long story). 

Billy decided that he's had enough of not-knowing about his father, pieces together the envelope containing the check and the return address and hops a plane to Montana where he plans on surprising his long-lost father. What he finds instead is his father's new family. Lil and her daughter, Summer  are members of the Crow Nation. They are okay with Billy's dad's frequent disappearances. With Summer and Lil's help, Billy sets out into the woods to find his elusive father. What they find is his truck with the tires slashed. But that is not enough to deter Billy.

Kirby Heybourne is one of my favorite narrators and he does a fantastic job narrating this twisty turny, hilarious mystery. His laid back, almost nonchalant delivery was perfectly paced. I am a fan of both Hiassen's adult and juvenile fare. I love his descriptions of the outdoors. He deftly skewers rich, selfish, hypocritical politicians and businessmen, in this case a big game hunter with a penchant for rare endangered animals. This one might be my favorite. My students who like mysteries and like to laugh really love Hoot and Flush. I can't wait to hear what they think of Squirm.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

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: Two books for Cybils judging arrived this week.

Eliza Bing is (Not) a Star by Carmella Van Vleet. 249 p. Holiday House, September, 2018. 9780823440245.

Publisher synopsis: How will Eliza make it through the sixth grade? Her ADHD tends to complicate things. . . .

Eliza Bing stuck with taekwondo and earned her yellow belt even though her family expected her to quit. She's tough enough to break boards with her bare hands! Next up: middle school, and hopefully a best friend. The school play turns out to be the perfect opportunity to befriend confident, stage-obsessed Annie. But can their friendship survive the spotlight?

The joys and sorrows of middle school come to life in this funny and heartfelt sequel to Eliza Bing Is (NOT) a Big, Fat Quitter, recipient of the Christopher Award and four child-voted state award nominations. 

Daphne Definitely Doesn't Do Drama by Tami Charles. Daphne, Secret Vlogger series. 96 p. Stone Arch Books/ Capstone, August, 2018. 9781496562951.

Publisher synopsis: Ridiculous makeup, blinding spotlights, and too much catty drama! Annabelle Daphne Louis starts her second assignment from her therapist to venture outside of her comfort zone at her new school. This time, she's trying her hand at theater. Failing the auditions for Little Shop of Horrors, Annabelle finds her place backstage. But when Annabelle features some funny impersonations on her vlog, Daphne Doesn't, the drama is just beginning. When the play director shares Daphne's videos with the cast, Annabelle starts experiencing some real-life drama. And as her likes and followers increase like crazy, Annabelle begins to realize that it doesn't mean anything if she doesn't have the guts to make friends in real life.

Purchased: nothing for me but I did buy Saving Winslow and Wimpy Kid 13 to send to my husband's great-nephews. They and their baby sister are great readers and I love being the Book Aunt.

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 16, 2018

Fact Friday: Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood by Nathan Hale

Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: a World War I tale by Nathan Hale. Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series #4. 126 p. Amulet Books/ Abrams, May, 2014. 9781419708084. (Own)

Fact Friday concludes our week devoted to books about World War I with Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood: a World War I tale by Nathan Hale. This is book number four in the Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales series. Though technically this book is historical fiction because it is narrated by the (dead) historical figure, Nathan Hale, all the history in these books is factually correct and often includes direct quotations. In case you are unfamiliar with the series, in One Dead Spy, the first book, Nathan Hale is heading to the gallows but since he was a historical figure, he's in future history books and has absorbed all the American history that happened (happens?) after his demise (in the future?) Yeah, it's mind-bendy, but go with it. This is sort an Americanized 1001 Arabian Nights with Hale delaying his execution with one more story.

The causes of World War I are complex but Hale does a good job of distilling them. The war was also notable for the advancements of military technology, such as poison gas and tanks. The horrors of this war were gruesome and the loss of life on both sides was extremely high. Hale manages to convey that without bludgeoning the reader. The palette is mostly earth tones, the art is crowded and filled with detail. The representation of the countries is signified by animal heads, Bulldog = England and Rooster = France. 

The entire series is quite well done and highly recommended. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

#tbt: Kipling's Choice by Geert Spillebeen

Kipling's Choice by Geert Spillebeen. Translated by Terese Edelstein. 154 p. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. 0618431241. (Own) 

#tbt features Kipling's Choice by Geert Spillebeen. This novel was originally published in Belgium and was translated by Therese Edelstein for an American audience in 2005. The story opens on a battlefield during WWI. John Kipling lies mortally wounded and reflects on his life. John is Rudyard Kipling's only child and both of them suffered from poor eyesight, which prevented his father from serving in an earlier war and initially prevented his son from serving in WWI. But the elder Kipling was now a famous author and pulled some strings to get John accepted. The story switches between John, written in first-person, and his memories, written third-person omniscient. This thought-provoking novel is a fictionalized account of real events. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Picture Book Review: Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise by David Ezra Stein. unpgd. Candlewick Press, September, 2018. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Our irrepressible interrupting chicken is back and her patient papa continues to stoically submit to his little chick's insistence that the literary term is not the element of surprise, but the elephant of surprise. Papa tries to prove her wrong by whipping out a book of fairy tales and dang, if that pesky elephant doesn't show up every time! Even when he resorts to making up his own story, interrupting chicken illustrates and gets that elephant of surprise to show up!

Fans of the first book, Interrupting Chicken, which won a Caldecott Honor, will be tickled to revisit chicken and her papa. Fans who find this one will demand the first. And deservedly so. In fact, I needed to run over to the library to borrow Interrupting Chicken!

Again, the mixed media art shines here. The colors are warm and there's plenty of detail to catch the eye, such as the school bus viewed through the window of the living room. The textures are inviting as well. One can see crayon markings as well as colored pencil strokes. Papa, as caregiver continues to dote and seems to have an after-school routine. He leaves his computer to devote his entire attention to chicken. Alas, his attempts at gentle correction fall on deaf ears and he attempts to prove it with a story. 

The art for the "storybook" parts is different, seeming to be pen and ink, but the background contains interesting details for young eagle eyed readers/ listeners.

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise is a #nevertoooldforpicturebooks picture book. It can be shared with older students as a playful introduction to the literary device and younger students will hoot with glee over chicken's exuberant free spirit. She's definitely an outside-the-box thinker. Highly recommended for everyone young and old. 

Here's a link to an adorable trailer.

Waiting on Wednesday: Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War by Julie Berry. 480 p. Penguin Young Readers Group, March 5, 2019. 9780451469939.

Publisher synopsis: New York City, 1942. World War II is at its zenith. A stunningly attractive couple meets in a Manhattan hotel room for a forbidden tryst. But these are no ordinary lovers. When immortals Ares and Aphrodite are caught by the latter's jealous husband, the goddess of passion must justify her actions, or face judgment on Mount Olympus.

To plead her case, she spins a tale that took place in Europe some twenty-five years earlier: the story of four mortals whose lives entwined in the crucible of World War I.

They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story--filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion--reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it's no match for the transcendent power of Love.

As I said in a Stacking post a few weeks back, I adored Berry's All the Truth That's in Me and The Passion of Dolssa! I also love myth retellings and stories set during WWI. I cannot wait for this and would crack it open right this second but I have a stack of 70+ books to read for Cybils Round One judging!

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?


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!