Archive | Age 12+ RSS feed for this section

Review! The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt

12 Oct

letterkingThe Letter for the King

Written by Tonke Dragt

Translated from Dutch by Laura Watkinson

528 pages – ages 12+

Published by David Fickling Books on August 25th, 2015

(Originally published in Dutch in 1962)

Synopsis- From The Publisher: “Sixteen-year-old Tiuri must spend hours locked in a chapel in silent contemplation if he is to be knighted the next day. But as he waits by the light of a flickering candle, he hears a knock at the door and a voice desperately asking for help.

A secret letter must be delivered to King Unauwen across the Great Mountains–a letter upon which the fate of the entire kingdom depends. Tiuri has a vital role to play, one that might cost him his knighthood. He must trust no one. He must keep his true identity secret. Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter . . .

Tiuri’s journey will take him through dark, menacing forests, across treacherous rivers, to sinister castles and strange cities. He will encounter evil enemies who would kill to get the letter, but also the best of friends in the most unexpected places.”

What I Thought- I love books with a medieval setting like this. When done correctly, they can really insert you into the story line. Ms. Dragt does a great job of creating a realistic world with a code of chivalry. There are pretty neat black-and-white sketches for the different sections of the book. I really enjoyed the story. Tiuri is a marvelous character who you connected with. He is *this* close to becoming a knight, but, by doing the right thing, may lose his entire chance to become a doer of good, full-time. You feel for him, as he is conflicted by this question of character. Ms. Dragt is a masterful author, and Ms. Watkinson did a great job translating it into English. I really recommend this book to everyone who likes a good coming-of-age book!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend by Michelle Cuevas

24 Sep

jackieConfessions of an Imaginary Friend – a memoir by Jacques Papier

As told to Michelle Cuevas

176 pages – ages 9+

Published by Dial Books on Dial Books, September 8, 2015

Synopsis- Somewhere in France, there lived an evil wiener dog named François. In François’ house, there lived a young girl named Fleur Papier, and she had a twin brother named Jacques. This book is about Jacques. Jacques is a good brother. Polite, fun, imaginative, and so much more. That is, until Jacques accidentally overhears his parents talking and learns that… Fleur has an imaginary friend. How could she have one, and if anything, not tell him? That wasn’t a nice thing! Well, two can play at that game. But when Jacques’ imaginary friend is huge, and takes up a lot of room, his parents yell out that an imaginary friend having an imaginary friend was “too much imagination” – and that was saying a lot, as they work in the imagination business. Wait. What? Can it be true? That Jacques is… An imaginary friend? Jacques soon realizes it is true, but he has a hard time adjusting. What if that by finding out he was an imaginary friend ends up driving him away from Fleur?

What I Thought- This was an amazing book about learning who you really are. Jacques (who we thinks is based off of Jackie Paper from Puff the Magic Dragon) is a memorable character who tugs at your heart strings. You really feel for him as he realizes that he is really his “sister’s” imaginary friend. The sad thing is, she didn’t even know he was imaginary! At least it explains how no one paid attention to him. Imagine if you were ignored all of your life, and then suddenly find out that you aren’t real. There are some simple illustrations in the book that add a lot to the story. I would really recommend this book to anyone looking for a really meaningful story that makes you think. I think that this book is good for an older audience (at least 12+), as they will get the impact behind it, but the story is all clean, and good for younger kids.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


Review! Headwinds by Gretchen K. Wing

22 Sep


Series: The Flying Burgowski (Book #2)

By Gretchen K.Wing

288 pages – ages 12+

Published by Madrona Branch Press on November 24th, 2014

Synopsis- The Flying Burgowski…flies…again! Jocelyn Burgowski is pretty happy. Her mom is back on Dalby Island, her brother Michael is [mostly] nice to her, and she flies on an almost regularly basis. What can go wrong? Well, Jocelyn’s mom is (pretty much) seen, as she was forced to land on her boss’ roof. Then at Joss’ birthday party, Michael goes, and tries to fly by jumping off of a cliff. He lives, but is pretty messed up, and in the hospital. Add the fact that there is at least one person on Dalby Island from a strange, ancient cult that was formed pretty much for the purpose of grounding Flyers like Jocelyn and her mom, and Jocelyn has no idea what is going on with her life. There is only a small amount of people on Dalby, but a lot of suspects…

What I Thought- This was a great book! The adventure is fun, and really nails pretty realistically the life of a teenager (even with a flying teenager). The second book in the series catches the reader right up with what is going on. Ms. Wing has a great writing style that really brings you into the story and lets you visualize the setting. You feel for Jocelyn as she is trying to figure out who is trying to bring the Flyers down. Her character is believable and well-developed. The book has a thrilling plot that keeps you on the edge of your beanbag chair (which is a hard thing). I really hope that there is a book three, but this book ended well giving the reader a satisfying feeling.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Everyday Bento by Wendy Thorpe Copley

8 Apr

bentoEveryday Bento: 50 Cute and Yummy Lunches To Go

By Wendy Thorpe Copley

120 pages – ages 12+

Published by Tuttle Publishing on March 4, 2014

Synopsis- Do you know the way to make a quick, healthy, and fun lunch that looks nice? Well, if not, have you ever tried bento? You don’t know what bento means? Bento is a Japanese style meal that is packed into a box and able to be taken along with you. This book gives you simple recipes on how to make bento box meals with American items and a lot of fun!

What I Thought- This was a nice recipe book. Ms. Copley has written a comprehensive guide to making bento boxes for the beginners.  The recipes are simple and really easy to understand. This isn’t really a kids book but I bet any kid would love to get packed lunches like this!

bento2 bento3

Plus it makes a great parent kids activity – making great lunches! The book covers the basics and the tools you might want to get to make the fun shapes and molds. Some of the recipes are more complicated than others, and would take more time to make, but you can get some great ideas from it. There are easy-to-follow instructions and pictures. All in all, this is a really nice book! We (meaning mom and me) used some of the things we had around the house and the pictures and guides from the book and created a bento box lunch! How did we do?


I give “Everyday Bento” four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

Check out the Every Day Bento website for ideas and video tutorials! Click HERE

Multicultural Children’s Book Day! Review – The Call of Distant Drums by William Pisani

26 Jan

Tomorrow is the second annual Multicultural Children’s Book Day and I am a MCCBD reviewer! WOO!


MCCBD was created “to spread the word and raise awareness about the importance of diversity in children’s literature.”  Make sure to read to the end of my review to see how you can participate!


I got to review and AMAZING book for MCCBD! I am very happy to tell you about it.

Ththecalle Call of Distant Drums

By William Pisani

212 pages – ages 8-12+

Published by JoNa Books Publishing Company on September 1, 2005

Synopsis- From the back of the book: “The fierce Blackfoot — Blood. Never defeated in battle by the white man. But how much longer could they continue to roam free in the ancestral lands they had long held sacred.”

What I Liked- This is not a book of action. This is a book of reflection and thoughts. Sure, there is still action, but what makes this book wonderful is that it inspires pondering within you. The main character is an elderly Native American who had become adopted into the Blackfoot tribe when his people were marched to a reservation but he had escaped. Now that his life is almost done, and because his family has passed on, he has decided to migrate back to his homelands, like the spawning salmon. The story reflects his traveling and facing spirits in his way. Along the way, the man thinks back upon his life. I found the book overall just incredible. Mr. Pisani’s writing style draws you into the mind of the main character. The story  is compelling and is very believable and seems to be very well researched. Mr. Pisani captures the feel of the Native American nations and their beliefs. He shares their heart-break over the loss of their tribal lands. The story is very moving. I think that kids 8+ would like the book, but to really appreciate the story, I’d recommend it to kids 12 and older.

This is an example of a book where I wish my rating scale went higher.fivebooks

Here are some ways you can help us celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day: 

  • Visit The Multicultural Children’s Book Day website and view the book lists, reading resources and other useful multicultural information.
  • Visit the Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board for more reading ideas.
  • Have children bring in their favorite multicultural book to school on this day and share it with the class.
  • Watch for the #ReadYourWorld hashtag on social media and share. They are hosting a Twitter party! Join them on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages.
  • Visit the Diversity Book Lists and Resources for Educators and Parents on their website.
  • Visit MCCBD sponsors. You can find them HERE
  • Connect with them on their new Facebook and Twitter  pages.


Platinum Sponsors: Wisdom Tales Press, Daybreak Press Global Bookshop

Gold SponsorsSatya House,,   Author Stephen Hodges and the Magic Poof

Silver Sponsors: Junior Library GuildCapstone Publishing, Lee and Low Books,  The Omnibus Publishing

Bronze Sponsors:Double Dutch Dolls, Bliss Group Books, Snuggle with Picture Books Publishing,  Rainbow Books,   Author FeliciaCapers,   Chronicle Books,   Muslim Writers Publishing,   East West Discovery Press

Platinum Sponsor Wisdom Tales Press is hosting a book giveaway on their website that anyone can enter! The winner will receive 6 Wisdom Tales Books of their choice!

Visit the Multicultural Books for Kids Pinterest Board!

You can subscribe to a newsletter about Multicultural Children’s Book Day, too!

Don’t forget to check out the Multicultural Children’s Book Day blog (click HERE to go THERE)!

MAKE SURE TO JOIN THE TWITTER PARTY ! Join the party and win book packages! Join us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Twitter Party on Jan 27th 9:00pm EST. Use hashtag: #ReadYourWorld to win 10 book packages! This Twitter Party is hosted by Co-Founders Mia Wenjen (@Pragmaticmom) and Valarie Budayr (@JumpIntoaBook1). You can review the Twitter Party Prizes on the MCCBD blog here.

Review! Camp Bad Guy Episode 1: The Worst Kids in the World by Ellis Weiner

22 Jan

campbadCamp Bad Guy Episode 1: The Worst Kids in the World

By Ellis Weiner

131 pages – ages 11+

Published by Frederator Books, LLC  on October 13, 2014

Synopsis: Jim Goode is a… Good kid. So why are his parents forcing him to come to Camp Bad Guy? It’s a summer camp that trains kids to be the world’s next dictators, supervillains, and just plain psychos! They’re encouraged to steal, cheat, trick, etc. And Jim is honest! After arriving at camp, Jim starts wondering if he really knows his parents after all. How will a good kid survive at Camp Bad Guy?

What I Liked: This book was awesome! It creates a new world that you will love and hate at the same time! I like how the descendants of the villains come from villains that are “real” (one of the counselors is James Bond’s best enemy’s grandson), while others are just made up for the book, like The Chuckler (the camp director), but are very creative. The story is hilarious and just a blast to read. The humor can be a bit edgy – like there is a class titled –  “How to Make Sure a Person is Drowning” and “Junior Life-Taking” (a play on life saving) – but – hey, it’s Camp BAD Guy! It’s the same kind of snarky humor in Mr. Weiner’s Templeton Twins.  There are a few minor cuss words (mostly “D***”). This stuff isn’t that bad, but I know some parents won’t like that for younger kids. Mr. Weiner’s story-telling abilities shine through in the book. I really liked the main character, Jim.

I give Camp Bad Guy five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Review! Leap Write In! by Karen Benke

26 Nov

leapwriteLeap Write In!
By Karen Benke
256 pages – ages 11+
Published by Roost Books on April 2, 2013

Synopsis [from the back cover] In this book you’ll find: On-The-Spot Drops that offer “free-fall” prompts on different themes, such as short-winded poems and seven-line stories. Mini Memoirs to unlock personal narratives to share, or not. Suddenly A Story suggestions to explore feelings and states of being like fear, reluctance, compassion, kindness, anxiety, anger, jealousy, happiness, and more. Surprise Yourself Surveys for those who think they know everything about themselves. Untie-Your-Mind Word Lists to jump start stalled imaginations. Definition Decoders to introduce new ideas and styles of writing.

What I Liked- First off, I was very excited to read this book! Ms. Benke’s other book “Rip The Page!” was great, and really helped me with my writing. I found this book was a great follow-up to “Rip The Page!” because the writing challenges were a bit more complex. The prompts were realistic and slightly challenging to do, especially if you aren’t in your creative mind frame, like the activities “Stop Making Sense” and “Your Moody Monkey Mind” – two of my favorites. Ms. Benke gave several activities for each prompt, giving the reader a choice to do. She also included some examples, from real people, so you get your creative juices flowing, and have some real inspiration. The book covers a wide range of creative writing topics, from dialogue tags to – **ugh** – the necessary step of revision. There are some really fun things to do. Ms. Benke shares some “mini memoirs” of her life, and encourages others to do the same. This is a wonderful writing resource!

I give this book 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

Check out one of the creative writing things I did! I wrote a pantoum (I never even heard of this poem type before reading this book).

A Pantoum Pantoum

               [   or   ]

An Ode to Pantoums Everywhere

            By Erik

A pantoum is
An interesting poem type
That’s fun to do
With simple steps.

An interesting poem type:
You can master it
With simple steps.
Can you see it take shape?

You can master things
With some effort.
I can see a poem
Forming from mid-thought.

With some effort,
It’s fun to do.
Forming from mid-thought,
Is a pantoum.

Review! Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain by Katrina Cope

11 Nov


Jayden and the Mysterious Mountain

by Katrina Cope

Book 1 of The Sanctum Series
262 pages – ages 11+
Published by CreateSpace on September 2, 2013

Jayden was a homeless child, one who ran away from home to get away from his father. When he is picked up by a rich, mysterious man, he gets the craziest offer of a lifetime – he can get a home, a fantastic college, and a loving community – all in one. The man, Avando, was picking up homeless tweens and teens and bringing him to his school, The Sanctum, to live at. There was one condition though – that they must try. They must try to get good grades, and try to be plain good. Oh – and there is the part where he has to learn all sorts of technology to help the man combat terrorism. Is it all too good to be true?

This was a good read. My interest was piqued from start to finish. The story started off a bit sluggish, but it picked up towards the end.  The academy Jayden goes to sounds amazing and the school was described well. There wasn’t a whole lot of conflict or action in the story while he is there, except at the end. I liked the technology use in the story instead of magic (love Harry Potter, but really like different story ideas!). As a note to parents, there was some mild cursing in the book – nothing over the top. The characters were likable, Jayden is good as the main character, one that you can connect with. The plot of the book had just enough mystery for me to wonder what was really going on.

Four out of five bookworms.fourbooks

Double Play! Mutation by Roland Smith & Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

9 Nov

Get ready for some literary awesomeness in my post today! I have reviews of two books by two  of my favorite authors I waited for months to read!


By Roland Smith

Series: Cryptid Hunters
352 pages – ages 11+
Published by Scholastic Press on September 30, 2014

Marty, Grace, and Luther are back in the thrilling conclusion to the Cryptid Hunters series! Wolfe, who is Grace’s dad and Marty’s uncle, and scientist specializing in cryptids (animals rumored to exist but were never proven (Ex: giant squid, Bigfoot)), and his strange group of employees have pinpointed where Marty’s parents disappeared in the Brazilian jungle. The cryptid hunters team get to a member’s research base in Brazil, only to keep having team members go missing. It almost seems like they are getting picked off one by one… It seems like an isolated tribe is to blame, but how do they know basic English, and how to disable modern-day electronics? What will happen when the kids are the only ones left to protect the cryptids that Wolfe has rescued?

This was an amazing ending to the Cryptid Hunters series! Mr. Smith has a great series here, and I was sad to see it end, but I was very satisfied with the ending. There is enough action, adventure, and excitement to go around – I couldn’t put it down! Marty and Grace (and you as the reader) learn a lot about Noah Blackwood (the millionaire zoo-chain owner who is diabolically evil) in this book (for example, his name isn’t even Noah Blackwood!). I love how Mr. Smith mixes science and sci-fi together in his story lines. The characters in the series are ones that the reader gets to know well. The good guys are ones you will like and cheer for and the bad guys will make your skin crawl. The ending is great, but I also kind of thought it had to end the way it did (Noah was too popular to just go to jail). I really like how Mr. Smith pulled everything together in the end… now maybe he’ll reconsider and write another Marty and Grace book… pretty please?

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


bloodThe Blood of Olympus

By Rick Riordan

502 pages – ages 10+
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 7, 2014

Percy. Jason. Annabeth. Piper. Frank. Hazel. Reyna. Leo. Nico. Coach Hedge.  Greek demigods. Roman demigods. (and one satyr) Traditional enemies. (except for the satyr) And the fate of the world rests upon their shoulders. (including the satyr) They must stop the evil earth giant, Gaea, from rising to destroy everything of mankind. She’s kind of in a grouchy mood and has made it hard for those demigods to stop her. Especially since she’s convinced the two Greek and Roman camps to fight each other to the death. With about a week before Gaea rises, and the two camps warring, how will the team stop the end of the world happening?

This was a very thrilling conclusion to the Percy Jackson Saga. It was also sad to see this series go, but I still enjoyed reading it. Mr. Riordan sure knows how to keep you hooked and reading. He adds just the right amount of humor into this book, mixed with plenty of thrills and danger, and a dash of despair. I finished it in about 3-5 days, only reading it in school (except for the last day). I noticed that The Blood of Olympus is darker than the other books. It seems that everyone is at their wit’s end in it,  which makes sense, seeing how they are going to go against extremely powerful giants. Everything gets tied up neatly. It also makes a nice progression in the series. As this is the last official Percy book that Mr. Riordan is doing (he’ll be doing a series on the Norse gods next!) we readers couldn’t have asked for a better end – well maybe that it wouldn’t end! Mr. Riordan has written a rather stunning ending to the Heroes of Olympus series. I can’t wait to read the Magnus Chase books (the Norse god books)!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks


Book Review – SEEING By Joseph Falank

28 Oct


By Joseph Falank

214 pages – ages 12+
Published by Winter Goose Publishing on June 27, 2014

Summary – 13 year-old Jake Sheppard has always been mocked in his class. After his father walked out on his mother and him, and his best friend became his tormentor, his life has been even harder. The fact that his grandfather, who has recently lost his wife, has come to live with them helps. His mom dating another guy doesn’t. Not in Jake’s mind.

What I Thought – This book is amazing. First off – the characters; Jake is a great kid. It’s not his fault that his life was turned upside down. Jake seems like a normal kid – nice boy, bullied, but still tries to keep positive. His life is harder than it seems to outsiders. Jake’s grandfather is the backbone of his family, after Jake’s father walked out on them. He props Jake and his mom up (emotionally), while doing the chores around the house, to help out. I like how Mr. Falank’s writing style shows the depth of the bond between Jake and his grandfather. Mr. Falank writes realistically. He seemed to get into Jake’s head well. Even though this isn’t the typical action/adventure book I usually go crazy over, the book really left an impression on me. The story kept me reading. I finished it in one day. The story, even though is one of loss, is also one of hope. It is motivating, in a way. The book is appropriate for all ages, but I think kids 12+ and adults will truly enjoy the message of the story. For anyone who says small press publishers don’t produce good books – check out Seeing. It will change your mind in many ways.

I give “Seeing” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Want to learn more? Check out Mr. Falank’s website HERE.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,286 other followers

%d bloggers like this: