Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Middle Grades Book Giveaway: The Littlest Bigfoot

The Littlest Bigfoot
by Jennifer Weiner
Aladdin
2016
ISBN: 9781481470742

I have 5  FREE copies of The Littlest Bigfoot up for grabs! For your chance to win a copy, simply post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, city, state, and email contact. The deadline for posts is Wednesday, October 19 at noon MST. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer. Check your email on October 19. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my  email. Books will ship from New York. Good luck and start posting!



Reviews

"A charming story about finding a safe place to let your freak flag fly." (People)

"Bestselling adult author Weiner (In Her Shoes) makes a winning children’s book debut with this witty story of outcasts coming together, first in a trilogy. . . .Well-drawn characters, high comedy, and an open-ended finale will leave readers eager for the next installment."

  (Publishers Weekly)

"Weiner writes an engaging tale that helps children to understand both bullying and the difficulties faced by people who in some way deviate from the norm. . . . Enchanting right up to the sequel-beckoning end."

  (Kirkus Reviews)

"A heartwarming tale about friendship and belonging that will resonate with those young readers who have ever struggled to fit in or find their place in the world."

  (School Library Journal)

"Bigfoot believers and non-believers alike will enjoy this story that focuses on the importance of friendship and acceptance amidst bullying, loneliness, and a lack of self-confidence."

  (School Library Connection)

"Plenty of youngsters—legendary creatures or not—will relate to this smartly crafted tale of appreciating your own quirks." (Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books)

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Picture Book Pick: Are Pirates Polite?

Are Pirates Polite?
by Corinne Demas and Artemis Roehrig
Illustrations by David Catrow
Orchard Books
2016
40 pages
ISBN: 9780545628747

Available November 29, 2016

Vibrant illustrations and fun loving, raucous pirates paired with rhyming text makes this book a real keeper. Even though pirates plunder, fight, and are loud, they do share. Pirates use their manners according to this book.

Pirate manners include: knocking before entering a door, showing respect and being a good sport. There are twelve manners in all and they are listed for young readers on the last page.

So much fun! Any child who loves pirates and ships will love this gem of a story.

Highly recommended for all young sea-going lads and lasses. This is a great read to help instill manners and have that discussion about always eating with your mouth closed, saying "excuse me," sharing, and other polite behaviors.




Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper
by Kerri Maniscalco
Jimmy Patterson Books
(Little, Brown and Company
2016
336 pages
ISBN: 9780316273497

Atmospheric, creepy, macabre and satisfying, Stalking Jack the Ripper is the first book (and it's a good one)  published by James Patterson's new children's  imprint Jimmy Patterson Books. Debut author Kerri Maniscalco gets the details right: the infamous London pea soup--the  fog, the eerily quiet streets, the hurried footsteps on cobblestones, the terror that stalks its victims in the dark ghettos of 1880's London, the seedy dens of inequity, the bloody cadavers, the gruesome murders, the creepy yet kind doctor uncle, the strong, young heroine with a mind of her own in a society  that says she can't be a doctor or study medicine and that says women should be wives and mothers, subservient to their men.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a London debutante from a family of financial means. Her father and uncle have an ongoing feud over the death of Audrey's mother, so Audrey Rose must sneak out to visit her uncle's gruesome yet fascinating laboratory in his home. She asks her uncle to attend his classes at the university to learn about forensic science but must masquerade as a boy since women were not allowed to learn medicine. She outshines most of the male students  at university but must keep quiet in class lest someone realize her true identity. One boy--a tall, good looking boy who works with her uncle--notices Audrey Rose for what she is. Thomas, Audrey Rose and her uncle, Johnathan Wadsworth,  study the murdered prostitutes to try to find clues to the killer.

Audrey Rose is strangely fascinated by the gore in her uncle's laboratory, but as a woman, she empathizes with the young women who are being murdered. She is the kind of heroine readers will love: strong, passionate and not afraid to buck authority. 

The deeper Audrey Rose digs, the closer she gets to the killer. Uncovering clues will cause events to be set in motion and Audrey Rose will be in danger.  Can she save herself? Will she be able to save her family's name and honor?

Shocking plot twists and some uncanny, unpredictable turns will leave readers breathless. Well done, Kerri Maniscalco! Well done, Jimmy Patterson Books!

Beautiful cover design  conveys the gloomy setting and atmosphere. The brilliant emerald color of the woman's gown is an eye catcher designed for sales.

A MUST have for collections! A MUST read for horror and mystery fans. Gothic horror fans will rejoice! 
Highly, highly recommended grade 9-up due to gore and mature situations.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Picture Book Pick: Penguins Love Colors

Penguins Love Colors
by Sarah Aspnall
The Blue Sky Press
2016
ISBN: 9780545876544

Available November 26, 2016

Bright, lively, bouncy, and fun, Penguins Love Colors is sure to be a hit with young readers who love animals and colors. Sweet illustrations will captivate and children will want to embrace a warm bunch of siblings and their loving mother.


Six penguin siblings love colors.  Living in a land that is covered with white snow,  the penguins decide to paint their world and make it a more vibrant place. Each penguin is named after a colorful flower: Dandelion, Broccoli, Tulip, Tiger Lily, Bluebell and Violet. Each penguin loves their color and paints with that color.

Their world becomes a brilliant landscape of flowers and colors which they are happy and proud to show Mama. She is overjoyed to see their work and young readers will be,  too! Aspinall's illustrations are BOLD and bursting with color. She is the most brilliant penguin of them all.

Although this book is targeted for young readers, the preschool and kindergarten ages, art classes of any age could read and critique this book for illustrations and learning primary colors. Penguins Love Colors embraces smart design layouts and vibrant colors that children will love and want to visit again and again. Questions in the text will engage readers to answer them.

Highly, highly recommended for young readers and all art classes. I shared this F & G with my art teacher who raved over the book. So, there you  have it, art teacher approved! Five stars from me!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F & G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.



This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Picture Book Pick: Sports Pick: Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still
by Karlin Gray
Illustrated by Christine Davenier
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2016
40 pages 
ISBN: 9780544319608

"The story of Nadia Comaneci gets a treatment as energetic as the gymnast herself. . . . Sprightly watercolor illustrations are both strong and springy, capturing Nadia’s literal and metaphorical ups and downs as she works hard, fails, and picks herself up."—Booklist



"Gray debuts with a picture book biography of phenomenal Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, the star of the 1976 Olympic Games. . . . The jaunty narrative takes readers from Comaneci’s childhood through her first Olympics with lively illustrations in ink, watercolor, and pencil."—Publishers Weekly



"Gray's narrative is as sprightly as a gymnast's back flips. . . . [A] respectful, 40th-anniversary tribute to Comaneci's soaring achievements."—Kirkus Reviews

 

Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still balances an endearing story of a young gymnast and her country's hopes of a gold medal. As a young girl, Nadia was said to be fearless: roller skating right out the entrance door of a department store or riding her new bicycle before her dad had tightened all the screws. She was a ball of kinetic energy that could only be contained by a gymnastics coach and his wife. Nadia's parents enrolled her in the gymnastics school where Nadia could expend all her energy. Soon she was learning routines on all the equipment, afraid of nothing.  she ran, tumbled, cartwheeled, flipped, flew from bar to bar, jumped and soared.

 When her team entered the Olympics  in Montreal, the competition to beat was the Russian team who had two gold medalists. The crowd went crazy when little Nadia performed. She was the first gymnast EVER to score a perfect 10.0! In fact, the scoreboard could not even record her score correctly. It was designed to score only up to 9.9. She went on to score seven perfect scores of 10.0. Winning five medals, Nadia was the youngest person to win a gold medal in gymnastics history. 

 Beautiful water color illustrations capture the energy and bounce of young Nadia and her teammates. After the Olympics when asked by a reporter if she had plans to retire, spunky Nadia replied, "I'm fourteen years old." In the afterword, readers learn that Nadia never did retire. She continued in gymnastics and later become a coach.  Eventually she defected from Romania to the United States via passage through Hungary. 

 This book  is a winner of a sports story that both boys and girls will enjoy. Children will empathize with Nadia's energy and applaud her hard work and dedication to a sport she loves. Gymnastics was like breathing for Nadia; she could not live without it. 

 Highly, highly recommended for all collections.  A real gem of a picture book biography. 

 FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.  




Sci-Fi Pick: Diabolic

Read more: Publisher's Weekly interview with S.J. Kincaid 

The Diabolic
by S.J. Kincaid
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
2016
416 pages
ISBN: 9781481472678

The Diabolic available November 1, 2016

S.J. Kincaid's exciting new adventure story takes place in space where senators rule a galactic Senate keeping all technology away from the common people, the Excess, and their planets. In this way, mere humans  will remain subservient.Science is forgotten and only machines can fix other machines. Humans lack the knowledge to repair any of their spaceships and many are breaking down and vanishing into deep space. The powerful senate would rather lose a few ships then give humans knowledge and power that could overthrow their rule.

 Diabolics were created from human DNA to be ruthless and to kill in order to save their charge. Diabolics lack feelings like empathy and love; they kill without emotion or remorse. Diabolics are not human and they undergo genetic modifications to imprint them on their masters.

Nemesis is selected out of a training pen by a powerful senator's wife to guard her young daughter. Nemesis and Sidonia grow up together almost as sisters, at least in Sidonia's mind. Nemesis cannot feel love, but she knows she would do anything to protect Sidonia. The Emperor declares death for all Diabolics, but Nemesis is hidden away by Sidonia's parents. When Sidonia is summoned to the galactic court by the powerful Emperor who is angry with Sidonia's father for studying science, the Matriarch decides to use Nemesis as a stand in for her own daughter, keeping Sidonia safe at home. Nemesis must now fit in among her superiors; she must pretend to be meek and mild Sidonia and not the trained and ruthless killing machine Nemesis. If she is discovered, she will be killed--and even worse, she will bring death to Sidonia and her family.


One slip of the tongue, one misused phrase, one gaff in manner can give her away. Nemesis isn't afraid of the powerful and treacherous court; she is terrified of hurting Sidonia. Nemesis crushes down her instincts to break necks and stomp on heads.

There is much to debate and discuss in The Diabolic: what place does religion have in science and vice versa? Should religion fear science? Should science be maintained only by a select few? Artificial intelligence--when is enough enough?  Just because we find a cure for something, when do we know whether it is right to use the cure if it causes other events? What part does power play in science? In religion?

The Diabolic is a solid YA sci-fi adventure that is sure to appeal to the masses. Though I am not usually a sci-fi reader, I was drawn to The Diabolic due to the character of Nemesis--the girl who is not a girl but so much, much more.

Highly recommended for high school readers and collections. Violence and mature situations make this a high school pick.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. 





Striking cover art is eye-catching and provocative. Smart marketing uses red tipped (evocative of blood) butterfly wings with steel blades ( violence and warfare) and a  a part of white wing (purity?)to sell the cover. Kincaid fans of Insignia will not be disappointed by this exciting new stand alone adventure..



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Teaching Tone and Mood

Why is it so hard for students to understand tone and mood? Setting, they get. Plot, check. Character, all good. Mood? Ummmmm? Tone? UMMMMMM?

Fear no more! Check out these great word lists that you can print in word.

Our English Class by teacher Gary Scott

http://ourenglishclass.net/class-notes/writing/the-writing-process/craft/tone-and-mood/


Make sure you watch the videos! Show them to classes. Kids will "get" tone and mood!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Giveaway and Blog Tour! The Cabin

Two ways to win! 

 I have 1 FREE copy of The Cabin for giveaway. Post a comment to the blog. Include your first name, city, state and email address. The Winner will be chosen at random by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is Tuesday, September 20 at noon MST. Please check your email after that time. The winner has 24 hours to respond to email and claim the prize. 

There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new young adult thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar, a New York Times Bestseller, and Awake

They think they’re invincible.
They think they can do and say whatever they want.
They think there are no consequences.
They’ve left me no choice.
It’s time for them to pay for their sins.

A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can’t wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead—murdered.

With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn’t telling the truth. And Mackenzie’s first mistake? Assuming the killing is over...



Can you survive The Cabin?

Another way to win:

Starting on August 30, we'll be releasing a series of questions every Tuesday and Thursday at different locations.

Here's how you play:

1. Take a look at the schedule below.
2. Go to the location on the specified date.
3. Find The Cabin graphic with the question.
4. Solve the question.
5. Head here to submit your answer for that day's question.
6. Complete all 8 questions and be entered in to win a $500 Visa gift card! We'll also be drawing a winner each week who will win a Sourcebooks Fire book bundle!
7. Make sure to submit all answers by September 25, 2016.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hey, Gamers! Learn Code and Develop Your Own Games! Hour of Code: December 5-11, 2016



Hour of Code



Hour of Code December 5-11, 2016—Join millions of students worldwide  Hour of Code 2016

Video “Computer Science Is Changing Everything”-watch

“Why I Code” –watch inspirational video


Learn How To Code for Hour of Code. Play the games and learn. Play Minecraft, Star Wars, and help Anna and Elsa on ice! Play all three code games. All ages

Code.org

Go to Code.org
Create an account and REMEMBER your login and password information !
You will need to sign in each time if you want to print certificates.

Click on Try Hour of Code

WATCH ALL VIDEOS and play the games all the way through.

You will learn about EVENTS; PRINT your certificate when you finish the game.

Intermediate Code:

Introduction to Javascript- learn Java from Khan Academy. 

Build your own game with Tynkor Use Code Monster, K-3, Dragon Dash, grade 3+, Tynker + Minecraft, grade 6+
The Easiest Way To Mod Minecraft—sign up and learn new skills. How to modify Minecraft

Bill Gates Explains If/IfElse Statements-video

Mark Zuckerburg Teaches REPEAT LOOPS-video

For Teachers:

Get tips and watch videos; sign up for FREE and help your students learn code! 



Compiled by Pamela Thompson, LMS

Friday, August 19, 2016

Middle Grades Pick: Just Like Me

Just Like Me
by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
2016
256 pages
ISBN: 978149260427

"Tween readers will find much to identify with in this charming and refreshingly wholesome coming-of-age story. . . Filled with slapstick humor and fast-paced action, the novel will engage reluctant readers, while offering fuel for deep contemplation by those ready to tackle questions of identity and belonging."
says School Library Journal

"From pillow fights to pinkie promises, sock wars to s’mores, a red thread connects this energetic summer-camp story with Julia’s deeper journey to accept herself."
Megan McDonald, award winning author of the Judy Moody series and Sisters Club trilogy

My Review:

Who can resist a summer camp story? 

Just Like Me is more than just a summer camp feel good story about the woods, campfires, s'mores, canoes, and singalongs. It's a voyage of self discovery and self acceptance for main character and narrator Julia. She worries how she will ever get through a camp with her two Chinese "sisters." Though not sisters by blood, Julia, Avery and Becca were all adopted by American families from the same Chinese orphanage during the same time period. Avery and Becca live close to each other and  become best friends who love everything from the birth culture. They eat Cheetos with chopsticks and fan themselves with delicate Chinese fans. The girls are even learning Cantonese and Mandarin. Julia, on the other hand, is the "odd one out." She identifies with her adopted family's heritage: half Italian, half Irish but  decides to throw in half Chinese. Julia's mother pushes her to camp telling her it's a great time to be closer to her sisters.

Told through a series of introspective journal entries, the reader will see Julia become more accepting of herself and the others as the book progresses. When the three "sisters"  find themselves as roommates in a cabin with super-competitive campers and competition stars Vanessa and Meredith and Vanessa's "sort of" cousin Gina,  they must learn to work together to win camp games. 

Spot-on tween dialog makes this read a winner! Julia's journal entries add to the action of each chapter and allow the readers to connect with Julia's inner thoughts.

The cover art is a thing of beauty. Right away, you know the book is about summer camp. The girls in three canoes, a bottle of suntan lotion, a captured butterfly in a jar, dirty knees, mosquito bites covered with band aids and the perfect serene blue of the water capture that lazy summer day on the lake. The cover is sheer bliss!

For all those kids who never got a chance to go to camp (like me!) Just Like Me is that summer story they will embrace.
Highly recommended grade 4-7. Cavanaugh just gets it right!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. 
]

Monday, August 15, 2016

For the Love of Football! Interfence

Interference
by Kay Honeyman
Arthur A. Levine Books
2016
352 pages
ISVB: 9780545812320

Available September 27,  2016

 

Review

Advance Praise for Interference

"I loved reading about Kate, who uses her street smarts and political know-how to go after what she knows is right. With its winning combination of football, politics, and a swoony small-town romance, this story stole my heart." -- Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan and Defending Taylor

"If you've ever messed up big time and yearned to hit restart, you must read Interference. Kay Honeyman's big-hearted exploration of life after a scandal reveals the true meaning of love, forgiveness, and courage." -- Justina Chen, author of North of Beautiful and A Blind Spot for Boys

"Kay Honeyman scores a touchdown with Interference, a fabulous read about new beginnings and family politics, freshly spun with humor, scandal, football, and a little romance." -- Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Better Off Friends
 
My Review:
 
Refreshing and light, a true winner!
 
Fleeing Washington, D.C.,  and a scandal, Kate's family travels back  to Red Dirt, Texas, where her career politician and Congressman father is  the local legend and is known as the town's best high school star quarterback. For Kate, Red Dirt can help her get community service hours she needs. She also wants to work on her photography portfolio for entry to college. What she finds to photograph is red dirt and lots of it! A boy she meets  helps her see the beauty of he west Texas sunset.
 
Kate's parents are so involved in politics and spinning the story, they don't think of anything else, including their own daughter and living in the moment. At first, Kate decides to opt out of her father's race and concentrate on her photography and classes.
 
Kate takes a volunteer job with her curmudgeonly Aunt Celia at the animal rescue where she  works with   Hunter who seems like he's only trying to help. To Kate, his "interference" bothers her; she wants to be independent and show people she's strong. She does not need or want a boy helping her or sticking up for her. Hunter gets exasperated that Kate is so stubborn.
 
When Kate tries to play matchmaker for Ana and Kyle, she makes a big mess of things and almost loses the high school football team's hopes for a championship  and her dad threatens to send her back to Washington. Even in a small town, politics can get dirty and Kate will have to use her smarts if she wants to make it in Red Dirt.
 
Interference is that small town, feel good book where boy meets girl, football is KING and Friday Night Lights, politics are dirty, and gossip travels faster than  a Texas brushfire.
 
Readers will embrace Kate who is clever and creative. She does not act like a pampered Washington debutante. Shoveling pig stys and birthing calves is not exactly glamorous, but Kate pitches in like a champ. Kate has moxie by the boatload. This girl is a real winner! Hunter is swoon worthy and the perfect "burr" under Kate's saddle (for those not from Texas, that means he's a pain).
 
Recommended grade 7 and up. No profanity, no sex. This Scholastic book will probably be on fall or spring middle school book fairs.
 
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fantasy Middle Grade Book Giveaway! The Girl Who Drank the Moon

 
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers
2016
 
Simply magnificent!
 
I have TWO FREE copies of this exciting middle grade stand alone title. Kelly Barnhill has accomplished sheer magic with The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I feel it is the best fantasy since Harry Potter! Can anyone say Texas Bluebonnet? This is THE book everyone will be talking about. Magical, poignant, sweet, and soaring, the prose sings off the pages like poetry! scroll down to see my review of this title.

For a chance to win, simply post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, email, city and state. Deadline for posts is noon MST on Thursday, September 8. Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Please check your email the afternoon of September 8. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York.

What are you waiting for! Start posting and good luck! Pamela

Friday, August 5, 2016

Fantasy Pick: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers
2015
386 pages
ISBN: 9781616205676

Editorial Reviews

Review

Top Ten Fall 2016 Indie Next Pick
A Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror Pick (August issue)


Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick . . . Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Rich with multiple plotlines that culminate in a suspenseful climax, characters of inspiring integrity, a world with elements of both whimsy and treachery, and prose that melds into poetry. A sure bet for anyone who enjoys a truly fantastic story.”—Booklist, starred review

“An expertly woven and enchanting offering for readers who love classic fairy tales.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Barnhill crafts another captivating fantasy, this time in the vein of Into the Woods . . . Barnhill delivers an escalating plot filled with foreshadowing, well-developed characters, and a fully realized setting, all highlighting her lyrical storytelling.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review


“Kelly Barnhill is a skilled storyteller, and she crafts wonderfully imperfect characters with poetic prose, warmth and wit. Rather than a strident good and evil face-off, Barnhill's complex story of relative truth allows each character to make his or her own choices, even very questionable ones. The resiliency of the heroes may be partly because of magic, but also because of critical thinking, empathy, deep love and the strength of family in all its unconventional manifestations. The Girl Who Drank the Moon takes a probing look at social complexity and the high cost of secrets and lies, weaving multiple perspectives, past and present, into one cleverly unfolding fairy tale. The knots of miscommunication, habit and assumption that tangle Barnhill's characters may inspire readers to question the stories we're told. It takes brave and creative young people with their power to transform reality to clear the air and spread some light. Thoughtful and utterly spellbinding.”—Shelf Awareness

“A misunderstood witch, a poetry-spouting swamp monster, a tiny dragon with a simply enormous heart, a girl fed from moonlight and a town filled with tragic sadness all come together in this brilliant new novel from the author of Witch’s Boy. Fans of Maile Meloy, Alice Hoffman and Shannon Hale will devour this sad, funny, charming, clever stand-alone fantasy adventure.”—Angie Tally of The Country Bookshop for Pinestraw Magazine (Southern Pines, NC)

 
 
My review:
 
 Refreshing, magical, oftentimes comical, and full of adventure and heart, The Girl Who Drank the Moon soars off the pages! Readers will be enrapt in a spell that will sing to them and wrap them up in a finely woven tapestry of  fantasy and magic. Few storytellers have the gift of so deftly arranging a fantasy or building a world so magical that readers want to live there, but Kelly Barnhill is the best at her craft. If you loved The Witch's Boy, you will love The Girl Who Drank the Moon even more!
 
Each year, the people of the Protectorate take a baby to a clearing in the forest and leave it as a sacrifice for  the witch. Xan, an old woman who lives with the poetic Swamp Monster and a tiny dragon with a huge heart, always rescues each  baby and travels through the forest to the other side where she will find a suitable family to adopt the baby. The baby will be loved and cherished and much better off than left in the woods to be eaten by wild animals.
 
One year, Xan is particularly tired, and after picking up the baby, finds herself stopping again and again to rest. As she rests, she feeds the baby goats' milk and then starlight. But
Xan makes a huge mistake. She was so tired and  must have dozed off and fed the baby moonlight. Everyone knows moonlight is dangerous magic.
 
Xan is happy to raise the child as her own. She knows of no one else who could understand and help the child learn to use her extraordinary gift. She names the girl Luna and insists that Glerk, the Swamp Monster and tiny dragon Fyrian, must learn to love the baby as much as she does. Each year Luna's magic intensifies and Xan begins to worry when and how it will "erupt." In order to quell the child's magic, Xan builds a spell that will keep the dangerous magic in check, at least for awhile. Glerk is worried. He knows that Luna needs to learn about her magic; he worries Xan will die before teaching Luna what she needs to know.
 
In the tower, a woman goes mad and begins folding paper birds that hold their own magic. Maps tell the way. A man with scars will read the maps and seek the witch. . A baby will be brought to the woods.

Luna's magic is about to be unleashed in a big way. Xan, Glerk and Fyrian will have to help Luna against powerful dark  magic in order to save the entire world.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is an instant classic and will be a book that today's children will read to their children. Yes, it's that good! I expect this book to be awarded many state awards as well as national attention. I can see this book made into  movie magic as a  treat for the eyes and hearts.

Smart choices were made with cover art. The paper birds seem to glow against a backdrop of blue. The title is centered on the moon which commands half the cover. The child seems to be walking in a near trance following the magical birds as a small dragon hovers just near her face. The dragon also appears on the spine which will be easy to spot on a library shelf. Readers will choose the book after seeing the dragon. The design of the book is sheer delight.

Highly, highly recommended. I would recommend this book over all others this year! It is honestly the best book I've read in years.

Recommended grade 4-up. There are life lessons in these pages--important ones about love, friendship, bravery, family, and heart. Everyone 8-80 should read this one.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.
 
 

  

Best Books (So Far) 2016

Pamela's Best Books (So Far) 2016
Presented at LEND conference, El Paso, Texas
June 2016
Best Books (So Far) 2016 use the link Best Books 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Club Pick: Chasing the North Star

Chasing the North Star
by Robert Morgan
Algonquin of Chapel Hill
2016
308 pages
ISBN: 9781565126275

Chasing the North Star is brilliantly brought to life by master storyteller Robert Morgan.

It is the story of two slaves who use their wits and rely on the kindness (sometimes) of strangers to reach the free states where they will not face the wrath of the whip or the cruelty of a life of slavery. Eighteen year old Jonah escapes after a beating from his master. He is whipped for stealing a book from the master's library. Jonah had borrowed the book to read, but cannot admit it because slaves are forbidden to learn to read even though the mistress of the house taught Jonah and encouraged him to read the Bible. Jonah takes off one night in a rainstorm and begins his long journey North.

He encounters a slave woman at a Jubilee, and she decides to follow him. If he can seek freedom, why can't she? Jonah does not want a companion, and decides to ditch her as soon as possible. Thank goodness Angel does not give up easily and manages to follow Jonah and catch up with him at a jail where she helps him break free once again.

Breathless and harrowing, Chasing the North Star will tug at the heartstrings. It is full of life, heart, strength and spirit. Readers won't easily forget Jonah and his tenacity. This book should be on the reading list for any program featuring the American South. Students of history should be forever grateful to Robert Morgan who is able to take a period of American history and catch all its brutality and fear, yet tell that same story with bravery, insight and compassion.

Readers will love Jonah and his can-do attitude.

Highly, highly recommended adult readers and recommended for book clubs.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation  for this post.