Sunday, July 20, 2014

Did you just call me Gandhi?

Last week I read the third Justin Case book, Justin Case: Rules, Tools, and Maybe a Bully. I absolutely love the Justin Case books written by Rachel Vail and illustrated by Matthew Cordell.

Maybe I love these books so much because I adore the character Justin Case and everything he teaches me about parenting…   or maybe I love them because I have my very own Justin Case:

In this new book, Justin begins fourth grade and there are new friends, new teachers, new rules, and playing the recorder. It's a lot for one "worried kid" to manage. 

The books are written in 'diary style' or journal format.

December 13, Monday is one of my absolute favorite entries! Here's a little sample:
"Plus," I said, "wouldn't it just be wrong? To say I would hurt him, and especially to then actually hurt him? Because, remember? Violence solves nothing. Right?"
"Sure, Gandhi," Mom answered. "But meanwhile, here you sit, my baby, with a black eye, so …"
"Never mind."
"Did you just call me Gandhi?"
She sighed.
"My name is Justin."
"I know," Mom said. She kissed my cheek. "You're a good boy, Justin."

And December 26, Sunday:
Mom was standing at the back door, holding her coffee mug, looking out into the yard, where everything was glittery white. The snow was falling in fist-size flakes.
I stood next to her and watched too. First snow of the whole year.
She put her arm around me, so I leaned against her. She didn't ask, How's everything going? or Did anything weird happen at school this week? We just stood there in the quiet and watched the snow come down together.
If you are a fan of the Justin Case books, this third book is not to be missed.

If you haven't met Justin Case yet, be sure to begin at book one: Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

a story helps folks

I just read The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. You may have already read his amazing debut novel, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes.

The Night Gardener has just the right mix of spooky tale, intriguing mystery, and moral fable all rolled into one story. 

I loved it.

Have you ever been brave? Have you ever had to face your fears, or deal with grief? 

Have you ever wondered about the difference between getting what you want and getting what you need? Have you ever been tempted by greed?

Have you ever thought about the affects of lies vs the effects stories have on us?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then this book is for you.

Here are some of my favorite parts:
"Stories come in all different kinds." Hester scooted closer, clearly enjoying the subject at hand. "There's tales, which are light and fluffy. Good for a smile on a sad day. Then you got yarns, which are showy - yarns reveal more about the teller than the story. After that there's myths, which are stories made up by whole groups of people. And last of all, there's legends." She raised a mysterious eyebrow. Legends are different from the rest on account no one knows where they start. Folks don't tell legends; they repeat them. Over and again through history. And the story I have for you" - she sat back on her stool - "why, that one's a legend."

"What's a storyteller but someone who asks folks to believe in impossible things? And for one perfect moment, I saw something impossible. And that's enough for me."

"A story helps folks face the world, even when it frightens 'em. And a lie does the opposite. It helps you hide."

Be sure not to miss the Author's Note at the end of the book. It is a wonderful example of how creativity and ideas are a mashup, or a collage of influences. It begins…
Writing this story was a story in and of itself. Nine years and countless drafts stand between the original idea and the book you now hold.
Also, be sure to read the author's Nerdy Book Club post

This is a fantastic book for readers of all ages. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer Reading for Book Enthusiasts

Today I read an article posted on NPR's Monkey See Blog: The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit The Earth by Linda Holmes. I have been trying to compile a Summer Reading List worthy of #WeNeedDiverseBooks and this was just the push I needed.

I'm not sure I like the term Book Girls… as many of the Book Girls traits are not limited to a specific gender. I prefer the term Book Enthusiasts or Book Aficionados.

It's awesome that these Book Enthusiasts have created a market and community for what they love, and that they take their passions to heart.

So, to all those #WeNeedDiverseBooks fans out there, here's a summer reading list to ponder.

The Best Book In The World by Rilla Alexander may be the perfect gift for all Book Enthusiasts. (pre-order)
If you found the best book in the world, would you stop reading? Could you stop reading? If you had homework to do, or dinner to get through, could you put the book down? On a train to the zoo or on a flight to Kalamazoo, would that break the spell? If in a forest you walked, while scary monsters stalked… would that be enough? If every animal in the land were to be led by a big band, in a grand parade in your honour made… would you put the book down?
What could possibly be so good about a book? Well, open me up and find out for yourself!
Alexander’s superb artwork makes this an unforgettable and magical tale that encourages children to read. The Best Book in the World draws young readers into the richly rewarding world of books.

The List below advances from Middle Grade up through Young Adult. Here are some favorites to look forward to reading this summer …

The Return of Zita The Space Girl by Ben Hatke

HeroBear and the Kid by Mike Kunkel

The Platypus Police Squad: The Ostrich Conspiracy by Jarrett J Krosoczka

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done by Stephen Pastis

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle

Goblins by Philip Reeve

Scary Tales: Home Sweet Horror by James Preller

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

The Witch's Curse by Keith McGowan (a great read aloud)

Penelope Crumb Never Forgets by Shawn K Stout

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossman

The Misadventures of the Magician's Dog by Frances Sackett

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Last Wild by Piers Torday

Thickety by J.A. White

Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

Arlene, The Rebel Queen by Carol Liu with Marybeth Sidoti Caldarone

Courageous Women Rebels by Joy Crysdale

Peace Warriors by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Be A Wilderness Detective by Peggy Kochanoff

Ouch! By Joe Rhatigan

Spending Spree by Cynthia Overbeck Bix

World War II Spies by Sean Stewart Price

Our Rights: How Kids Are Changing The World by Janet Wilson

A History of Just About Everything by Elizabeth MacLeod and Frieda Wishinsky

Why Do We Fight: Conflict, War and Peace by Niki Walker

The Dolphins of Shark Bay by Pamela S Turner

Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes

Tandem by Anna Jarab

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead

The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

More Than This by Patrick Ness

Eleanor and Park and/or Fangirl and/or Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Branded by the Pink Triangle by Ken Setterington

Fourth Down and Inches by Carla Killough McClafferty

We Were Liars by e. lockhart

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Other books to keep an eye on:

The Fall by Bethany Griffin a psychological thriller and a remaining of Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher. Due out in the fall of 2014

Beware The Wild by Natalie C Parker this debut novel looks like a scary, mysterious, swoon-worthy romance.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab won't be released until February of 2015, but I already have my pre-order in. The ability to travel between parallel universes sounds amazing.

The Adjacent by Christopher Priest is a book where history and fiction intersect.

And, because you've surely already read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, read Paper Towns this summer.

And, because it is so good… you should read the adult novel, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. If you are under 16, just skip the chapter entitled Berlin. You will love this book!

I wish you a summer 
filled with Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Summer Reading

For those who have asked…

I am working on a Summer Reading List.

It should be up shortly.

Friday, May 9, 2014

if I had a dog...

Dog by Nat Johnson.

If I had a dog, I'd call him to me
And we would forget about work and everything.
And I would run, and he would run.
And I would call, and he would come.

If I had a dog, I'd tell him my name
And we would forget about money and everything.
And I would throw, and he would go.
And I would talk, and he would know…

It's important to walk;
There are friends yet to meet.
My dog says forget about it.
My dog says let's run in the woods.

I will run, and he will run.
I will call, and he will come.

Such a lovely sentiment. Have you ever loved a dog? Has a dog ever loved you?

Help a person find a dog, or a dog find a person… Donate to the Idaho Humane Society.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

women have always been ingenious

Do the girls you know tinker? Are they builders and thinkers and creators? Then, have I got the book for you…

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women written by Cathering Thimmesh and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

This clever, compelling book shows that women have always been inventors whether out of necessity or curiosity or sheer will to get something done; women have always been ingenious.

This book opens up the amazing stories of women and their influence on society. It ends by encouraging girls to follow their dreams and ideas.

I loved this book. First, because it was a kind gift from a friend. Second, because it included Grace Murray Hopper who I love. And third, because it also includes my favorite Grace Hopper quote:

“It is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.”

Buy this book for the girls you know, because it should be reinforced that we don't always need permission. Reject the idea of being picked: pick yourself. There are problems to be solved. Get to work.