Archive | Other Stuff Related to Books and Reading RSS feed for this section

Blog Tour! Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring by Enigma Alberti #Spyonhistory

10 Feb

mary-bowser-blog-tour-banner

Welcome to my stop on the #Spyonhistory Blog Tour! I hope you enjoy my post – I really enjoyed this book!!

9780761187394Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring
Written by Enigma Alberti
Illustrated by Tony Cliff
96 pages – ages 9+
Published by Workman Publishing Company on December 13, 2016

Synopsis from the Publisher- Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers—Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary Bowser’s suspenseful story—how she pretended to be illiterate, how she masterfully evaded detection, how she used her photographic memory to “copy” critical documents.

Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope inside the book, a canny reader will be able to discover and unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations, and solve the book’s ultimate mystery: Where did Mary hide her secret diary?

What I Thought- This was a really cool book! It tells the story of Mary Bowser, an amazingly brave and super cunning lady who deserves to have her story told. The book is an excellent choice to highlight during Black History month here in the USA. The book has cool black-and-white (with red accents!) illustrations spread throughout it.

marybower1

I also really like how the words sometimes jump around the page. There is a folder in the front containing a shift cipher, a red plastic screen, a page from a book, and a piece of paper with holes cut into it – all supplied to help the reader solve the mystery. That’s just plain awesome! I really like how you have to find the clues in the text and illustrations. The story itself is wonderfully satisfying, and I really enjoyed learning about the history behind Ms. Bowser. It is really interesting to hear about the Civil War from the Confederate side (even if it was to help the Union) – it gives you another perspective. Enigma Alberti refers to the pen name of a group of authors who are writing this series. They promise to tell the stories of even more spies from history. I can’t wait for the rest of the books in the series to come out!

marybower

 

Want to learn more?

Author: Enigma Alberti is the nom de plume of a secret cadre of authors who are each writing a book in the Spy on History series.

Illustrator: Tony Cliff is the author and artist behind the New York Times bestselling Delilah Dirk graphic novel series. Find more on Tony at www.tonycliff.com and @TangoCharlie on Twitter.

Schedule:
Wednesday, February 1: Middle Grade Mafia
Thursday, February 2: YAYOMG
Friday, February 3: Mundie Kids
Monday, February 6: Miss Print
Tuesday, February 7: Recreational Scholar
Wednesday, February 8: The Roarbots
Thursday, February 9: Randomly Reading
Friday, February 10: A History of Books & This Kid Reviews Books
Monday, February 13: Teen Library Toolbox
Tuesday, February 14: Ex Libris Kate
Wednesday, February 15: Geo Librarian
Thursday, February 16: Kidliterati
Friday, February 17: Kristi’s Book Nook

Book Available at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
IndieBound
Workman

Social Media:
Twitter – @workmanpub
Facebook – @workmanpublishing
Instagram – @workmanpub
Pinterest – @workmanpub
Tumblr – @workmanpublishing

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017! The Trail of the Dead by Joseph Bruchac #ReadYourWorld

27 Jan

I am super happy to be part of the Multicultural Children’s Book Day Celebration! Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness on the ongoing need to include kid’s books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

2017-poster-final

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team are on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. Roman, Audrey Press, Candlewick Press,  Fathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa,Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books

Author Sponsors include: Karen Leggett Abouraya, Veronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen Burkinshaw, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid Imani, Gwen Jackson,  Hena Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’Malley, Stacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda Paul, Annette Pimentel, Greg RansomSandra RichardsElsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Here are some resources you can use to help celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

MCBD site: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teachers-classroom-kindness-kit/
Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents: http://bit.ly/1sZ5s8i

trailTrail of the Dead
Joseph Bruchac
400 pages – ages 13+
Published by Tu Books on October 1, 2015

Synopsis from Publisher- In the sequel to the award-winning Killer of Enemies, Apache teen Lozen and her family are looking for a place of refuge from the despotic Ones who once held them captive and forced Lozen to hunt genetically engineered monsters. Lozen and her allies travel in search of a valley where she and her family once found refuge. But life is never easy in this post-apocalyptic world. When they finally reach the valley, they discover an unpleasant surprise awaiting them and a merciless hunter following close behind. Hally, their enigmatic Bigfoot friend, points them to another destination a possible refuge. But can Lozen trust Hally? Relying on her wits and the growing powers that warn her when enemies are near, Lozen fights internal sickness to lead her band of refugees to freedom and safety. Alongside family, new friends, and Hussein, the handsome young man whose life she saved, Lozen forges a path through a barren land where new recombinant monsters lurk and the secrets of this new world will reveal themselves to her . . . whether she wants them to or not.”

I want to thank Lee & Low Books for supplying this book for me to read and review!

What I Thought- This was a really interesting story, taking place in a post-apocalyptic world set in the far future. It is the second book of a trilogy with the first being Killer of Enemies. You do not have to read the first book to be caught up to speed for the second. In Trail of the Dead, I like that it shows that the lines between man and myth are being blurred, after man’s fall from technology. Honestly, that aspect of the plot reminds me of Terry Brooks’ excellent “The Sword of Shannara” series, where man had a great war using their technology, thousands of years pass, and the world has evolved and mostly forgotten the past and been reunited with magic. But this series is wonderfully different – the series takes place right after that horrible ending of life as we knew it. It was interesting seeing how it warns against certain things nowadays. One thing I found interesting was that the overlord-type people from before the book had started putting technology into themselves, rather than risk creating computers that might decide to kill all of humankind. Really neat points. The story itself is rather good, with a slow start, but with the plot picking up remarkably fast. There are characters you root for, characters you sympathize with, and characters you absolutely despise – all necessary for keeping the reader riveted. The book’s multicultural aspect is a subtle part in the story at first and develops with the story. It includes references to several cultures (one of the characters is hinted at as being Muslim, for example, although Lozen is not quite sure because religion was banned years before her birth). Lozen and her family are predominately of Chiricahua descent (a Native American people) among others, and the book reflects that, showing tastes of their customs/culture and legends (of course, because religion was banned, it is slightly fragmented, but it is still very neat), and the book even uses a few words, easy to understand in the context of the story. There was some mild language used and complexity to the plot, so I recommend the book to a 13+ audience. I didn’t care for the formatting in the first chapter with regards to the thought dialogue. In Chapter One, punctuation/formatting isn’t used to show Lozen thinking to herself, although this does change to standard formatting as the book goes on. It was okay, but personally I think it makes reading a bit clumsy. I think that Bruchac has done a good job of explaining book one while not slowing the story down (you get a bigger picture as the book unfolds). The book is well-written, and a good action story that also brings in a mix of cultures. I would definitely recommend this book.

I found a nice website with legends of Native Americans, some of them from the Chiricahua tribe, like the one that Lozen is from. You can see them at Manataka.org HERE.

To join the MCBD link up, go HERE!

Creative Kid Thursday! Tanner Walling

19 Jan

Hi everyone! Today on Creative Kid Thursday, I am spotlighting kid author Tanner Walling, author of Fury of the Storm.

Tanner was nice enough to write a guest post, so I’m going to stop talking/typing and hand the mic/blog-space over to Tanner. Take it away, Tanner!

Hey everyone! My name is Tanner Walling and I am a teen author and science writer. Erik asked me to do a guest post about myself, my books, and what I want to do in the future and I gladly accepted. So, here’s the post!

4d1fb84b-e077-46c0-95bf-7f7129c6a61f

Here’s a little about myself. Outside of writing, publishing, and that kind of stuff, I maintain my science website, Science All Around, where I create articles and videos explaining science in an easy-to- understand way, since most science websites don’t do that. I’ve been writing for Science All Around for over three years. I also row for my school’s crew team, am a member of my school’s Model UN team, and enjoy traveling with my family.

467c16ef-a26d-4633-b4a9-b6bd075f53aa

Now, to the meat of the post: BOOKS! I write action adventure novels for middle-school (ages 10-14) and young adult readers. The general theme in my books is action adventure that often has a survival element to it. Think Roland Smith and Gary Paulsen with a bit of James Dashner thrown in the mix. My books are also very-action packed, which my readers seem to really enjoy. The current series I’m writing is my Fury of the Storm series, which is a disaster survival series featuring Isaac Tohver, a fourteen year old who, in each book, fights to survive the largest disasters nature can throw at him. Here’s the description of the first book in the series, Fury of the Storm:

A Category 6 hurricane of massive proportions.
One private jet carrying two teens and their pilot.
They weather the plane crash.
But now they must survive.

After Isaac’s plane is torn to shreds in a grisly crash that he’ll never forget, he’s faced with the disastrous realization that his plane has crashed over a mile from the shore and the only link from them to the mainland is a string of small islands so small the waves threaten to spill over and drown them beneath their dark crests.

Faced with either death or attempting to make it to the mainland, they set off on a grueling journey to make it to the mainland and be rescued in the largest and most furious hurricane the world has ever seen.

Fury of the Storm was the first book I ever wrote. I started it back when I was eleven, but really didn’t write it until I was twelve. Then, it went through editing and was published about a year later, in February 2016. The second book, tentatively titled Foreshock, is being edited, the third book is currently being written, and the fourth book is in the planning stages. For the future outside of writing, I plan to go into a science or technology field for a career.

If you have questions about writing, publishing, or anything like that, I’d be glad to answer them. You can find me online through the links below. Thanks to all of you for reading! I especially want to thank Erik for offering me the guest post!

Thank you Tanner for stopping by and writing this post!

Check out Tanner’s links below!

Website: http://tannerwalling.weebly.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tanner-Walling/e/B0136W8STI
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tannerwauthor
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tannerwauthor/

The Scholastic Kids Press Corps Interviews Michelle Obama!

22 Nov

KidsPressLogo

As of the end of November  I will no longer be a Scholastic News Kid Press Corps Reporter. In December, I turn 15 and that’s too old for the Kid Press Corps – yup, washed up at 15! 😉

So there is nothing like going out on a high note! I am very happy to announce that I and seven other Scholastic Kid Press Corps Reporters got an exclusive interview with First Lady Michelle Obama!

First Lady Michelle Obama joins Scholastic News kid reporters for a group photo following an interview in the Map Room of the White House, Oct. 6, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

First Lady Michelle Obama joins Scholastic News kid reporters for a group photo following an interview in the Map Room of the White House, Oct. 6, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

We interviewed Mrs. Obama about her last victory garden harvest at the White House, her experiences as First Lady, and what she plans to do next! We interviewed her in the Map Room in the White House.img_1842

For the entire story click over to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps blog by clicking HERE

I was also very happy to meet some of my fellow Kid Reporters, and my Scholastic editors in person. It is an AMAZING group!

img_1935 img_1939

My Latest Scholastic Kids Press Corps Article: Writing for Kids

18 Nov

KidsPressLogo

Hi there blogosphere!

I would like to tell you about my latest Scholastic News Kids Press Corps article.

It is about conversations I had with four middle-grade authors at the Lititz Kid Lit Festival in Lititz PA.

Here’s the blurb – “Four authors talk about the joys and challenges of writing for middle-graders.”

Find out what Isaiah Campbell,

img_2297

Amy Ignatow,

img_2332

Matthew Cody,

img_2343

and Dianne Salerni have to say about writing for middle-graders.

img_2375

Click HERE to read the whole story on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps blog.

My Latest Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Article – The World is Watching: the US Election

4 Nov

KidsPressLogo

Check out my latest Scholastic News Kids Press Corps article over at the Kids Press Corps Notebook blog!

With  the American Presidential election just around the corner, spoke with people outside the US to see how they  are feeling about the election in America this year.

A big thank you to Catherine Johnson CatherineMJohnson.com, D. Tulloch, from ThePatientDreamer.com, and Dr. Myra Garces-Bacsal, from GatheringBooks.org for giving me their perspectives on the election.

Click HERE to read the whole article!

My Latest Scholastic Kids Press Corps Video Interview

2 Nov

KidsPressLogoSo what have you been up to?

You don’t say…

Me?

Oh well you know,

this and that.

Got an A on a science test,

 

AND I GOT TO INTERVIEW THE NEW LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS, DR. CARLA HAYDEN!!!

hayden1

For a book-nerd like me this was my “holy grail” of interviews. Dr. Hayden in an amazing person and I have been trying to get an interview since she was nominated by President Obama way back in March. Well I finally got one and I am still fanboy-ing over it. 🙂

You can check out the video interview at the Scholastic Kids Press Corps blog by clicking HERE.

 

Review Round-up and WINNER of the Lockwood and Co Giveaway!

1 Nov

Today’s post is about a trio of fun books that really caught my eye!

BUT FIRST I have a winner to announce!

prize

The winner of the complete Lockwood and Co series plus the pumpkin carving set (Thank you Disney Hyperion for the awesome prize!) is

Ken W Christensen!

Congratulations Mr. Christensen!I will be contacting you for your mailing address.

 

Up first –

notpictureThis is Not a Picture Book!

By Sergio Ruzzier

40 pages – ages 2+
Published by Chronicle Books on May 3, 2016

Summary from publisher: In this quirky yet sweet picture book about the joy and power of reading, Duck learns that even books without pictures can be fun. While he and his friend Bug may struggle at first to decipher their book, they stick with it, and before long they discover that not only can they read it, but it deserves a place on the shelf with all their favorite picture books. Author-artist Sergio Ruzzier has created a fanciful tribute to books of all kinds. It includes both words AND pictures.

Why I like it: The illustrations are a feast for the eyes! At first duck is upset that the book he found has no pictures- only plain old words.

notbook2Once he starts reading the book the illustrations reflect how his world comes alive.

notbook3This is EXACTLY what happens when I read! 😀

The story shows kids just how cool reading a book can be. The text is simple so early readers can read it to themselves. I think it would make a great bedtime story too. I really love everything about this book!

Next up –

papillonPapillon, Book 1: The Very Fluffy Kitty

By A.N. Kang

40 pages – ages 2+
Published by: Disney-Hyperion on September 6, 2016

Summary from publisher: Papillon is a very fluffy kitty. So fluffy that he’s lighter than air! His owner tries to weigh him down, but Papillon just wants to fly.

One particularly sunny day, he floats right out the window! Exploring the wide world is exhilarating, but it’s also a little scary. Will his new friend, a bird, be able to help him find his way home?

Whimsical art and airy text come together seamlessly in this delightful debut by A. N. Kang.

Why I like it: Who wouldn’t love a book about a big fluffy kitty who is lighter than air? Seriously, what a unique story concept. Papillon is SO fluffy he just floats. His owner Miss Tilly has to come up with a solution so her kitty doesn’t float away. She tries to weigh him down but the only thing that works is having Papillon wear costumes.

Which, of course as Papillon is a cat, he is not thrilled about.

papillon2

So Papillon decides to go without the costumes and Papillon floats out the window and is soon lost. Kang’s illustrations are a perfect compliment to her story.

And for my final review!

burpornotTo Burp or Not to Burp: A Guide to Your Body in Space.

By Dr. Dave Williams and Loredana Cunti

Illustrated by Theo Krynauw

56 pages – ages 7+
Published by Annick Press; Reprint edition October 11, 2016

Summary from publisher: Of all the questions astronauts are asked by kids, the most frequent one is “How do you go to the toilet in space?”
This book not only answers that question, but many others about the effect of zero gravity on the human body:
How do you brush your hair in space? What happens when you sweat? What does food taste like? The best thing is that the answers are provided by Dr. Dave Williams, a NASA astronaut who speaks from first-hand experience. Written for kids ages 7 to 10, this book uses age-appropriate language to explain the different phenomena that astronauts encounter during a mission. The bright, colorful pages, short blocks of text accompanied by photos and humorous illustrations make this a very attractive choice for young readers. The opening message from Dr. Dave empowers kids to follow his example by believing in themselves and following their dreams.

Why I like it: So these are questions, I really was curious about. How do you go to the bathroom in space? What about brushing your teeth, taking a shower or sleeping in space? This book is packed full of illustrations and real photographs showing how these things are done. The text is laid out nice with to the point textboxes. The formatting of the book is nice and will appeal to reluctant readers. Written by an expert (Williams) that knows about living in space, the book gives you a real understanding of the day-to-day challenges of being in space. A very fun and informative read!

Review! The Bowl and the Stone by Bish Denham

20 Oct

bowlThe Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands

By Bish Denham

109 pages – ages 8+

Published by Bound Post Publishing on October 3, 2016

Synopsis- from the author –
It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them?

Their carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, and Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

What I Thought- This was a really good book with a solid story-line. I really love the setting and Denham’s description of the Caribbean. The story also teaches you about the culture in the Virgin Islands. The friendship between Sam and Nick (and Trumps) is a highlight of the story. It rings true to the reader and is enjoyable to read about. The story is an intriguing ghost story and mystery that is written well for Denham’s young audience.   The story is slightly scary, with the right amount of tension for a young person’s mystery. This is a good clean read.

fivebooks

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

Who is Bish Denham?

coral-shower-mustache

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.

She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”

The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.

To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/bish-randomthoughts.blogspot.com.

She can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BishDenham/Author

Twitter @BishDenham

And Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6439315.Bish_Denham

My Latest Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Article: The White House Celebrates Advances in STEM

5 Oct

KidsPressLogo

I recently went to Washington, D.C. to cover a White House conference showcasing efforts to make STEM education more engaging in high schools. Read my interview with Secretary of Education John King, and Cecilia Muñoz, Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Click HERE to read the whole story on the Kids Press Corps Notebook blog!

king

Secretary of Education John King and me

%d bloggers like this: