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We’re thrilled to share this exciting first look at the cover of Margaret Finnegan’s debut middle grade novel, We Could Be Heroes. We’re also delighted to offer an exclusive giveaway for a chance to win an autographed bound manuscript. Please see details below.
What I Love About The Cover:
After the cool title (who doesn’t love this Bowie song?) pulled me in, I found the cover’s rich color combination very appealing. And then there’s the boy, the girl and the dog—I’m curious where they are, how they are connected to one another and what point/scene in the book this particular illustration represents—so I asked Margaret. She said she didn’t want to give away too much, but did offer this: “In the cover, fourth graders Hank, Maisie and sweet pitbull Booler look down over their hometown of Meadowlark, Montana.” By the way, if you’re wondering who created the fabulous cover illustration, that would be artist Alexandra Bye.
About the Book:
When Hank Hudson accidentally sets his school on fire, Maisie Huang thinks she has finally found someone brave enough to help her rescue a neglected dog named Booler.
Together, the two outsiders will create a friendship born of difference, imagination, and a commitment to being the heroes of not only Booler’s story, but their own.
Release date 2/25/20 from Atheneum.
About the Author:
Margaret Finnegan’s work has appeared in FamilyFun, LA Times, Salon and other publications. When she is not writing she teaches writing to students at Cal State LA. And when she is not doing either of those things she is probably watching movies with her family, walking her new puppy, Walt, or baking really good chocolate cakes.
Keep Up With The Author:
Follow Margaret to be sure you’re first to know when WE COULD BE HEROES is available to pre-order in addition to other updates. In the meantime, be sure to add her novel to your Goodreads TBR list.
What a privilege it’s been, Margaret, to offer readers this chance to see your beautiful cover out in the kidlitosphere on Good Reads With Ronna. I can’t wait to get to know Hank and Maisie better!
Margaret is excited to be able to offer one winner a signed and bound copy of her WE COULD BE HEROES manuscript courtesy of Atheneum! To enter this giveaway please leave a comment on this post. Get a bonus entry for following the blog @goodreadsronna on Twitter. Receive another bonus entry for following Margaret on Twitter as detailed above and then please be sure to let us know you have by mentioning that in your comment. NOTE: (Comments appear once moderated by GRWR.) This unique giveaway opportunity (for U.S.residents only) will end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday, June 27. The winner will be announced via Twitter on June 28. Good luck and thanks for stopping by the blog to celebrate Margaret’s cover reveal!
WIN FOUR SIGNED MG & YA BOOKS Enter our fantastic summer giveaway Courtesy of Candlewick Press
What better way to welcome the summer solstice than with a giveaway? But this is no ordinary giveaway! In April I enjoyed a wonderful pre-LA Times Festival of Books dinner with four fab Candlewick authors and was given autographed copies of their books. Good Reads With Ronna is giving away those signed novels to one lucky winner and it could be you. Read about the books in the giveaway. A handy Candlewick tote bag is also included:
Burn Baby Burn Written by Meg Medina (Candlewick Press; $17.99, Ages 14 and up) Pura Belpré Author Award winner Meg Medina has another hit on her hands with this riveting read which took me back decades to that scary summer following my first year at university in New York. That’s when the letters of the S.O.S. distress signal stood for something much more sinister – the killer, Son of Sam. Here’s a description of the novel from Candlewick: Nora Lopez is seventeen during the infamous New York summer of 1977, when the city is besieged by arson, a massive blackout, and a serial killer named Son of Sam who shoots young women on the streets. Nora’s family life isn’t going so well either: her bullying brother, Hector, is growing more threatening by the day, her mother is helpless and falling behind on the rent, and her father calls only on holidays. All Nora wants is to turn eighteen and be on her own. And while there is a cute new guy who started working with her at the deli, is dating even worth the risk when the killer likes picking off couples who stay out too late? Award-winning author Meg Medina transports us to a time when New York seemed balanced on a knife-edge, with tempers and temperatures running high, to share the story of a young woman who discovers that the greatest dangers are often closer than we like to admit — and the hardest to accept. While violence runs rampant throughout New York, a teenage girl faces danger within her own home in Meg Medina’s riveting coming-of-age novel.
Honor Girl Written and illustrated by Maggie Thrash (Candlewick Press; $19.99, Ages 14 and up) I read this graphic novel memoir in three sittings because I just had to find out what happened to Maggie at Camp Bellflower for Girls, the summer she fell in love. I cared about her immensely and so will YA fans into candor, introspection, and the intensity of first love. Here’s a description of this impressive debut novel from Candlewick:
Maggie Thrash has spent basically every summer of her fifteen-year-old life at the one-hundred-year-old Camp Bellflower for Girls, set deep in the heart of Appalachia. She’s from Atlanta, she’s never kissed a guy, she’s into Backstreet Boys in a really deep way, and her long summer days are full of a pleasant, peaceful nothing . . . until one confounding moment. A split-second of innocent physical contact pulls Maggie into a gut-twisting love for an older, wiser, and most surprising of all (at least to Maggie), female counselor named Erin. But Camp Bellflower is an impossible place for a girl to fall in love with another girl, and Maggie’s savant-like proficiency at the camp’s rifle range is the only thing keeping her heart from exploding. When it seems as if Erin maybe feels the same way about Maggie, it’s too much for both Maggie and Camp Bellflower to handle, let alone to understand. All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak. At once romantic and devastating, brutally honest and full of humor, this graphic-novel memoir is a debut of the rarest sort.
The Hired Girl Written by Laura Amy Schlitz (Candlewick Press; $17.99, Ages 10-14) While everyone was out at the pool during my Florida vacation this winter, I remained indoors because I could not put down this multiple award-winning novel from Newbery Medalist Schlitz. I relished being brought back in time to 1911 Baltimore following the ups and downs of protagonist Joan Skraggs as she becomes the hired girl in a wealthy Jewish household and tries to find her place in the world. Fans of historical fiction should add this to their must-read list.
Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future. Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.
Dan vs. Nature Written by Don Calame (Candlewick Press; $17.99, Ages 14 and up) Novelist and screenwriter Don Calame, has penned a fast-paced, fun YA novel for the most reluctant of teen readers. If you’re not sure what’s in store, better check out Calame’s clever book trailer here because it really gives you a good taste of the author’s unique sense of humor. High schoolers will appreciate the predicament that the main character, Dan Weekes is thrown into, survive being with his future step-dad or survive the wild.
Shy and scrawny Dan Weekes spends his time creating graphic novels inspired by his dream girl and looking out for his mom as she dates every man in the state of California. Then his mom drops a bomb: she and her latest beau, Hank, are engaged, and she’s sending her “two favorite men” on a survivalist camping trip to “bond.” Determined to trick Hank into showing his true — flawed — colors on the trip, Dan and his nerdy germaphobe best friend, Charlie, prepare a series of increasingly gross and embarrassing pranks. But the boys hadn’t counted on a hot girl joining their trip or on getting separated from their wilderness guide—not to mention the humiliating injuries Dan suffers in the course of terrorizing his stepdad-to-be. With a man-hungry bear on their trail, no supplies, and a lot of unpleasant itching going on, can Dan see his plan through now that his very survival depends on Hank? From screenwriter Don Calame comes another outrageously funny and raunchy tale of teen boys whose plans go awry — this time, on a survivalist camping trip.
ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY NOW – Increase your chances of winning. You’ll receive an extra entry for following Good Reads With Ronna on Facebook, but please let us know you’ve followed by telling us when you comment below. Thanks and good luck!
CELEBRATE MOTHER’S DAY & FATHER’S DAY WITH LITTLE BEE BOOKS CUDDLES FOR MOMMY & THE BEST PART OF DADDY’S DAY
Reviews and Giveaway
Cuddles for Mommy Written by Ruby Brown Illustrated by Tina Macnaughton (Little Bee Books; $16.99, Ages 4-8) Here’s a read aloud picture book moms won’t tire of sharing with youngsters on Mother’s Day or any day. What kind of cuddle do you like best? There are all kinds of cuddles and in the pages of this sweet picture book, Little Owl is wondering which one’s her favorite and decides to try them all. Mommy Owl is on the joyful receiving end of all the hugs.
The good morning – a wake up time cuddle. The good-bye – a leaving for school cuddle. The “I’m sorry” – a way to apologize for doing something wrong cuddle. The “I’m scared” – when mommy’s reassuring hug helps quell fears and makes nightmares go away. There are also the thank you cuddle, happy cuddle, the proud cuddle, the “I’m sick” cuddle, and the good night cuddle. But the best kind of cuddle for any time or any place is the Mommy Cuddle “Just because I love you!” And that’s sure hard to argue with. Brown has picked cuddles for her book’s subject and it works wonderfully. She’s created a feel good picture book that’s great for story time or bedtime. And since it’s just the right length, Cuddles for Mommywill leave lots of time for some quality cuddling at the end. I hadn’t ever considered how many cuddles and hugs we give to one another, but I’m glad Brown did. Macnaughton’s chosen a variety of background colors to highlight her illustrations that also add a cheery mood to this story. Plus, with her depictions of Little Owl and Mommy Owl, she’s found a way to make the cuddling of the two owls look believable without turning their bodies into cartoon characters. An endearing story for a special holiday, Cuddles for Mommywould make a great gift for Mother’s Day.
The Best Part of Daddy’s Day Written and illustrated by Claire Alexander (Little Bee Books; $16.99, Ages 4-8) The strong message of love in both Cuddles for Mommyand The Best Part of Daddy’s Dayis an important one for young readers. I may have guessed the ending in Alexander’s new picture book, The Best Part of Daddy’s Day, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every page and remembering my son feeling the same way at the same age as Bertie, the narrator. Bertie wishes he could spend the day with his dad, but dad’s a builder and must make tracks to work while Bertie goes to school. Throughout the course of Bertie’s school day, he finds himself thinking about his dad and trying to recreate the experience of being a builder. Sometimes he has success and other times he doesn’t – like when a classmate gets footprints on Bertie’s artwork of a crane like the one his dad operates. The highlight of Bertie’s school day is climbing to the top of the jungle gym where he is certain he can see his dad up in the crane constructing a skyscraper. When school ends it turns out Bertie’s daddy has had quite similar experiences at his job, even spotting his son on the jungle gym! But during a bedtime story, Bertie’s dad reveals that the best part of his day isn’t actually when he’s at work. No, it’s when he comes home and gets to snuggle up close to his son. Bertie agrees that the feeling is mutual. Alexander’s written a delightful story for budding builders and those who dream of following in a parent’s footsteps. The watercolor illustrations are tender yet playful, just perfect for the subject matter. Make reading The Best Part of Daddy’s Day the best part of your day and get a copy today.
“WARNING: this book may cause excessive laughter and possible silliness.”
This lively and humorous collection of eight novellas that is Comics Squad: Recess! features comic strip style stories by well-known author and/or illustrators such as Gene Luen Yang, Dav Pilkey, Jarrett J. Krosoczka and Raina Telgemeier. Popular characters like Babymouse and Lunch Lady make their appearance and new characters are introduced. All the stories are tied together by one theme: recess, one of the high points of the school day (second only to dismissal time!).
The stories feature a lively variety of styles, characters and situations from the geeky boy who struggles to join a recess ninja club in Yang’s “Super Secret Ninja Club” to two squirrels who find a rather unusual acorn in Vernon’s “The Magic Acorn.” Pilkey’s “Book ‘em, Dog Man,” features the hero, Dog Man (and lots of invented spelling), who sets out to stop the diabolical Petey from destroying all books in order make the world “supa dumb.” In Telgemeier and Roman’s “The Rainy Day Monitor,” a restless 5th grade class, confined to their classroom on a rainy day, is pleasantly surprised when a “boring” student finds a way to engage her classmates. Two boys struggle to complete an assignment during recess in Santat’s “300 Words” with hilarious and poignant results. Babymouse’s daydreaming makes her late for classes and lands her inside for recess where she takes off on an imaginary quest in the Holms’ “Babymouse: The Quest for Recess.”
Highly recommended for grades 3-6, this anthology serves as a great way to attract new fans and will be enjoyed by those already familiar with the authors’ and/or illustrators’ characters.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS: We’re delighted to be giving away two copies (value $7.99 each) of COMICS SQUAD: RECESS!.
1. Please send an email to Ronna.L.Mandel at gmail.com and write COMICS SQUAD: RECESS! in the subject. Please supply your name and address, too!
2. Be sure to LIKE US on either Facebook and/or Twitter to be eligible and let us know you have. You must be a US or Canadian resident to enter.
3. Contest ends at midnight on August 5, 2014, and (2) winners will be notified on August 6, 2014.
Enter by clicking here. Include your name and address please. Remember to write 1000+ in the subject line. Contest ends at midnight PST on Tuesday, Feb. 18 and three winners will be selected and notified on Weds. Feb. 19, 2014. For eligibility, entrants must first follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Contest rules also available here. Good luck!
“In addition to interviews with Kate DiCamillo, K. G. Campbell and Aaron Becker, we’ve been delighted to have both Flora & Ulysses and Journey reviewed on our site. So, it simply made sense to offer our readers a chance to share the enjoyment we’ve gotten from reading both these brilliant books. We’d also be remiss if we didn’t use this occasion to thank all our followers for their continued support. We love bringing our favorite books, authors and illustrators to our readers’ attention.”
– Ronna Mandel, founder Good Reads With Ronna
“Working at Candlewick is an embarrassment of riches for any book publicist, honestly. There are too many wonderful books and authors, it can be overwhelming!
But working with Kate DiCamillo is a singular privilege that I can honestly say is one of the defining aspects of my career in publishing. Over almost a decade now, we have worked and grown together, and her books have continued to surprise and impress me at each publication. Not to mention, she’s a good person, and who doesn’t want to see a really, genuinely good person do well?
While no longer an underdog by any means, she’s still easy to root for. And I count myself among her biggest cheerleaders — ever.”
What an eye-opener this fast-paced and moving historical fiction novel was for me! I had no idea that mercy dogs existed, yet after reading Darling, Mercy Dog of WWI, I learned and appreciated what a vital military role they played in finding and assisting wounded soldiers on the battlefields of Europe. Hart’s tightly constructed story begins with Darling’s recruitment by the military from the family who loved her, especially the two children, Robert and Katherine. The book then details Darling’s training period and finally focuses on her service as a mercy dog, braving life and death situations. Montgomery’s sketch-like illustrations done with various lines in assorted directions complement the story in their depictions of village life, battlefields and various characters.
Hart manages to convincingly share the tale in Darling’s voice so readers experience first-hand the stresses she feels and the successes she accomplishes as a soldier. In addition to all the satisfying action and adventure they’ll find in the book, kids will be drawn into the story because of several meaningful relationships detailed. First there is Darling’s relationship as beloved pet of Katherine and Robert. Second is her role as Mercy dog under the caring and watchful guidance of handler, Private Kent. There’s also a sweet friendship between Darling and a stray dog named Rags from Darling’s home town of Cosham in England. Before the war, Rags and Darling would roam the town together when, on occasion, Darling slipped free from her leash.
When at last Darling is faced with the prospect of being on an actual mission, she is scared but well prepared. “Hoping to pick up a trail, I kept my nose to the ground. The smells of burnt earth, gunpowder, and a hundred boot soles grew confusing.” Using all her keen senses, Darling the mercy dog locates a fallen soldier. With the story focusing more on the dog squad and Darling’s role saving soldiers, young readers will find this perspective less harsh than had it been a full-on WWI tale. There are some harrowing moments like when the Allied trench of Darling’s regiment is blasted by a barrage of enemy shells. Darling must race to find and dig out her colleagues despite a painful wound she’s sustained. Of course the questions remain whether she’ll get to them in time, whether she’ll recover from her wound and then, will she ever make it back from the Continent to Cosham and her dear Katherine and Robert?
Next up in this series:Murphy, Gold Rush Dog *1896*
The GOOD READS WITH RONNA giveaway opp begins today, Friday, October 4, 2013 and runs through Sunday, October 20th ’til midnight. Enter now by sending your name and address to Good Reads With Ronna by clicking here. Be sure to write DARLING/Peachtree Giveaway in the subject line. One winner of (1) one copy of Darling: Mercy Dog of World War I-1917- will be selected via Random.org and notified on Monday, October 21st. Click here to see our contest and giveaways rule page. Good luck!
In this riotous romp around Denmark, New Hampshire (yes, something is rotten in this city), readers meet 11-year-old Andy Whiffler. With his exceptionally large nose, Whiffler will experience the trials and tribulations common to many just-moved-to-town tweens, only more so because his nose knows no boundaries.
Andy’s intelligence, wit and uncanny ability to sniff out trouble (in addition to a variety of vile stinky things such as a rotting pastrami sandwich, feet fungus and armpit odor) soon turns around the kids who so often tease him about his oversized honker. Now, as a member of a group who have dubbed themselves the Not-Right Brothers along with one female friend named Vivian, Andy embarks on unearthing what’s causing the horrendously horrible noxious fumes at James F. Durante Elementary.
Soon something seriously fishy is discovered. In fact it’s downright criminal and it may cause the school to close down leaving kids to lose their summer vacation. However, if all goes according to plan, The Not-Right Brothers, aided by a Mardi Gras masked, flying crime fighter known as Super Schnoz, will rid school of its evil element, foiling a dastardly plan to pollute cities across the planet. Can Super Schnoz close the Gates of Smell and help reopen James F. Durante Elementary? Don’t let only the nose know! Pick up a copy today at your local independent bookseller and find out what part some snot and cayenne pepper play in this mad dash to deliver Denmark from certain disaster.
GRWR: Please tell us how you decided that a boy with a humongous nose should be a super hero? Why not ears or big feet?
Gary Urey: Big noses are just funny! They can smell good things and bad things, expel mucous, wiggle, and you can pick it. If you ever got stranded on a desert island, your nose could provide hours of idle entertainment. Also, people are generally obsessed with their nose. Is it too big or too small? Why is it red? Should I get a nose job?
GRWR:I love being entertained and your book is pure entertainment. What does it take nowadays to entertain children with their oh so many distractions?
Gary Urey: Children are very easy to entertain if you have a laptop, a TV, and Netflix. Seriously, I think that children innately love books. We as adults just need to put the right book into a kid’s hands and they will gobble it up. A Newbery Medal winning book may very well be a beautifully told tale, but a kid who likes comic books, laughs at fart jokes, and makes goofy videos with his friends and then uploads them to YouTube probably won’t be interested in a story about a kid who lives in a small Kansas town during the depression. But that same fart joke-loving kid will eagerly read books like Captain Underpants, Super Schnoz, and The Day My Butt Went Psycho.
GRWR: You’ve said that you were nasally challenged as a child like Andy Whiffler. What kind of teasing did you endure and is that when your keen sense of humor was born?
Gary Urey: Yes, I was born into a family of large noses! Our family reunion looks like a nose convention. My maternal grandfather’s nose was so HUGE you could use it as a storm shelter. His honker actually affected the tides.
Somewhere in my childhood, I got an unfortunate nickname that left me wide open for teasing. Everybody referred to me by that name, even teachers and my own family. To this day, if I went back to my hometown they would call me by that name. So, to answer your question, when you go through childhood and adolescence with a humiliating nickname you develop a healthy sense of humor.
GRWR: Was this book originally conceived as an animated TV show because between Long’s artwork and the madcap adventures embarked upon, it seems to shout series?
Gary Urey: No, I didn’t consciously start writing Super Schnoz with an eye for an animated TV show—although that would be great! I grew up in a home without books so Saturday morning and after-school cartoons were my main source of entertainment. Shows like Hong Kong Phooey, Johnny Quest, Bugs Bunny, the Flintstones, Land of the Lost, Super Friends, and dozens of others were a major influence on me as a writer for children.
GRWR:There are snot and sickening smell type jokes up the kazoo in this book. How do you know when you’ve reached capacity with this type of humor in a kids’ book? For example – do you show it to some kids for their input?
Gary Urey: I let my eleven-year-old daughter and her friends read the manuscript. Half said it was gross, the other half didn’t, so I figured the avalanche of booger and snot jokes were okay. Also, my editor at Albert Whitman will let me know if I have gone too far.
GRWR:Did you decide to add all the name references to nose related things such as Principal Cyrano and James F. Durante Elementary School for the grown-ups who might read this to their children? I looked up the Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk you included in the story thinking it was going to be a translation of nose, but it wasn’t. Did you do that on purpose?
Gary Urey: Yes, I did add all the big nose references for the grown-ups. The Russian city of Nizhnevartovsk just popped into my head the day I was writing that chapter. I think I heard of the city from some documentary. Although, your idea of naming the city after the Russian word for nose is much funnier. (According to Google Translate, nose in Russian is hoc.)
GRWR:The whole idea of Andy being able to fly is so totally imaginative. Did you have to do some research to make his ability to lift off the ground thanks to inflated nostrils believable?
Gary Urey: I did a bit of research on how hot-air balloons work, just to make it bit more believable.
GRWR: Where did you draw your inspiration for the four other members of Andy’s Not-Right Brothers and girl partner-in-crime fighting?
Gary Urey: The Not-Right Brothers are composites of friends I had during elementary school. As for Vivian, all the great super hero teams like the Fantastic Four have a kick-butt girl in the gang. Vivian fit the bill perfectly!
GRWR:Is there a second book in the works?
Gary Urey: Yes. I just finished Super Schnoz II. He will battle snotty aliens who are intent on taking over the world!
GRWR:What writers inspired you as a child and who are those you still enjoy reading as an adult today?
Gary Urey: The book I remember most from childhood is How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. I still love that book! The book that made me want to become a children’s writer was Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. It’s my favorite book ever, and it won the Newbery back in 1991. I also love every book by Gary Paulson, Avi, Cynthia Rylant, and Dav Pilkey. They’ve had a tremendous influence on me.
We’re excited to give away 2 autographed by the author (Gary Urey) copies of SUPER SCHNOZ AND THE GATES OF SMELL. Each of the winners will have their signed copy mailed to them by Albert Whitman & Company who are graciously providing the books.
The giveaway begins today, Sunday, September 22, 2013 and runs through Sunday, October 6th ’til midnight. Each of the winners of (1) one copy of SUPER SCHNOZ AND THE GATES OF SMELL by Gary Urey with illustrations by Ethan Long will be selected via Random.org and notified on Monday, October 7th. Send your name and address to Good Reads With Ronna by clicking here. Be sure to write SCHNOZ/Albert Whitman Giveaway in the subject. For an extra entry, please LIKE our Facebook page by clicking here. Also remember to send us your name and contact info in an emailtoRonna.L.Mandel@gmail.comby midnight Sunday, October 6, 2013 and you’ll be entered to win.
Please click here for a link to our contests page if you need more info. Good luck!
Good Reads With Ronna is proud to be included in this 2013 summer tour and giveaway. We’re also very excited to offer one lucky winner a copy of When I Feel Worried signed by author Cornelia Spelman (Albert Whitman & Company, $15.99, ages 3-6) with illustrations by Kathy Parkinson. Just follow the instructions below to be entered in the giveaway and good luck! But first, here’s a little something about the book.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: We all get worried, but age and experience give us coping skills. So learning how to deal with this uncomfortable feeling from a young age is very important. When I Feel Worried, the latest in the acclaimed The Way I Feel series, focuses on an adorable but nervous Guinea pig who needs lots of reassurance that everything will be okay. In 24 brightly illustrated pages, children will read about ways to cope with worrisome feelings and how to feel empathy for a friend who might be worried, too. Parents will be able to use the picture book as a way to open the discussion about worry and anxiety when they sense their child might be experiencing the very same feelings.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS: The giveaway begins today, Friday, August 2nd and runs through Sunday, August 18th ’til midnight. A winner will be selected via Random.org and notified on Monday, August 19th. Send your name and address to Good Reads With Ronna by clicking here. Be sure to write Albert Whitman Giveaway in the subject. For an extra entry, please LIKE our Facebook page by clicking here. Find our rules page here.
Be sure to stop by all the other participating great websites listed below by August 4th for a chance to win one of the following titles from Albert Whitman & Company and happy touring. Visit Albert Whitman’s website, too, because they’ll be giving away more books in their newsletter!
A Wild Day with Dad signed by Sean Callahan; The Bear Hug signed by Sean Callahan; A Father’s Day Thank You signed by Janet Nolan
The St. Patrick’s Day Shillelagh signed by Sean Callahan; Snowy, Blowy Winter signed by Bob Raczka; The Year Comes Round signed by Sid Farrar
The No-Dogs Allowed Rule signed by Kashmira Sheth; Being Henry David signed by Cal Armistead; When I Feel Worried by Cornelia Spelman
HOLY PEEPING PRETEENS! IS THERE A KILLER ON THE BLOCK?
The Wig in The Window(Harper Collins Children’s Books, $16.99, ages 8-12) by local L.A. author (and friend, so that’s my disclaimer) Kristen Kittscher, is the book I wish I could write. In fact most writing classes instruct novice writers that to pen a successful novel you need to enjoy reading the type of book you want to write. Well I sure do! Mysteries are right up my alley and this tween mystery’s got it all. Kittscher kills with just the right blend of BFF drama, emotion, suspense, and terrific tween vernacular peppered with plenty of fart and boobs humor.
Want to win a book of your own? Enter today by clicking here. We’re giving away one copy of The Wig in The Window, but enter soon and be sure to LIKE us on Facebook to be eligible. You must include your name and address, too. The giveaway ends at midnight next Friday, June 28, 2013. And remember to write WIG in the subject line. Please click here for the rules. Good luck!!
This action-packed middle grade mystery cum friendship tale cleverly combines all the elements young readers seek and manages to keep even an adult mystery fan turning the pages ’til the satisfying conclusion. Not only is the cover image inviting but it introduces readers to the partners in crime so-to-speak. Seventh graders Sophie Young and Grace Yang are not just neighbors, but best friends and stealth sleuths spying around their town of Luna Vista, a suburb of Los Angeles. Young and Yang are fanatics, the former into Feng Shui and the latter into all thing FBI, hence the part-time detective work. Together these two manage to uncover a secret about their suspicious and just plain awkward school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford, that could lead to danger.
There’s an engaging cast of characters that add to the book’s appeal, one of whom I especially adored, Trista Bottoms. A social outcast, Trista may weigh tons, but she’s also full of techie tricks and surprises and maintains a fierce loyalty to new pal Sophie. The S.M.I.L.E. crew, doting on their crazy commander-in-chief, Dr. Agford, composed of several “issas” led by the pushy and PC Marissa, will make readers’ hairs stand on end. And speaking of hairs standing on end, plenty of hairy, wig-inspired scenes abound where pulses will race and fear will flow. Watch this trailer for just a hint of what’s to come:
In addition to a love interest named Rod (he may not have spiky hair or be a Brit, but he sure sounds sexy), gassy Grandpa Young and his war stories, Sophie’s references to The Art of War by Sun Tzu, Grace’s parents and Jake, Sophie’s brother, add a depth to the story while also enlightening. While their methods may not be Sherlockian, Young and Yang’s L.A. sleuthing style will surely hook tween readers.
This debut novel by Kristen Kittscher is out today. Watch this space for The Tiara on The Terrace, the next installment in the Young and Yang series.
Beginning today, Monday, September 10, 2012 through Wednesday, September 12, 2012 of this week we’ll be reviewing and/or briefly mentioning picture books that we’ve read recently then giving them away! And guess what? If you LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by Monday, September 24, 2012 you’ll be entered to win a prize package of all books covered!! Remember to write Picture Book Giveaway in the subject line. YOU MUST LIST ALL BOOKS COVERED as part of your entry eligibility so be sure to read the blog every day. One lucky winner will receive eight hardcover books worth a total retail value of $136.88! We’re making it SO easy for you to get your kids reading again this back-to-school season. And isn’t that priceless? The giveaway opportunity ends at midnight on Monday, September 24, 2012 and a winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, September 25, 2012. Click here now for rules. Good luck.
Today’s theme is family.
The Roller Coaster Kid($16.99, Viking, ages 4-8)written by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by Roger Roth. A young boy called Zach spends time with his grandparents every summer and always visit Oceanside Park, an amusement park with a roller coaster called the Whipper. In fact one summer decades earlier Zach’s grandfather earned the moniker, The Roller Coaster Kid, having ridden the Whipper 100 times! Because both Zach and his grandma both dislike roller coasters, they enjoy the Big Wheel instead. When the next summer arrives and Grandma has passed on, Zach must find a way to reinvigorate his grieving grandfather. Will this perhaps involve the Whipper? I love the subtle spin on such a sensitive subject that allows parents to gently broach the topics of love, loss, facing fears and the unique thread that ties children together with their grandparents.
Also worth noting:
Who’s In My Family? All About Our Families ($15.99, Candlewick Press, ages 3 and up) written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott. Whether you live with your parents, grandparents, guardian, mother and stepfather, with siblings or a pet, they are all families and not one is better than the other, just different. Here’s a picture book that will get kids interested in talking about all kinds of families who live in all kinds of homes in oh so many places sharing the good times and the bad, but most importantly, sharing the love.
($15.99, Templar Books, ages 3-5) written by Nanette Newman and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. Now here’s a book I wish I’d written. This new twist on the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” theme introduces delightful Lily who proposes to her grandma the most imaginative careers a grandma could possibly have. And her cool grandma simply adds to the ideas as she cleverly and lovingly indulges her thoughtful granddaughter’s whims. “Or you could grow up to be a fairy with a magic wand who stops rooms from getting messy.” Now there’s a little girl who thinks big thoughts any child would adore. The artwork by Chichester Clark is colorful, vibrant and keeps us turning the page to see her take on Grandma in all her glory. Give this to a cherished grandparent or add it to your own collection so you can return to it again and again.
**Recap – To be eligible for the giveaway:
1. Read our blog this week
2. Like us on Facebook
3. Send us an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by Monday, September 24, 2012. Write “Picture Book Giveaway” in the subject line. In the body of the email, write:
a. The names of all the books mentioned in our blog posts from Monday September 10 through Wednesday September 12, 2012.
b. Your name
c. Phone number
A winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, September 25, 2012.