Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and (more than a) Bit of a Rant....

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath writes Simon Snow fan fiction; spending her time writing, rewriting, and hanging out in Simon Snow forums. She and her twin sister Wren have always done things together-dressed the same, written together, and had the same friends. But now the twins are headed to college and entering a whole new world. Fangirl is a wonderfully written coming of age tale complete with fan fiction, first loves, and family heartbreaks.

Let me begin by saying brava to Ms. Rowell for a book well crafted. Themes of betrayal, rivalry, abandonment, and independence flow throughout the book. Rowell even deals with mental illness in a very honest way. Beautifully written and poignant, I could not put this book down.  

I'd love to rally behind this book and recommend it highly to each and every reader, but this being a children's book blog I have to be honest when I say that I can't. I love, love, love this book-it's amazing and I'm all for kids having access to all kinds of books. No book bans here! But I'm not for kids having access to books with themes and ideas that are just flat out inappropriate for their age. Fangirl has alcohol, sex, and mature themes. Children don't need to be sheltered, but they need to have some understanding of what they're reading. Parents: if you choose to let your child read this book, be sensible and read it before them or read it together.

And here's the rant - or my two cents about finding books that are a good fit for your reader.

The Young Adult genre in literature is relatively new. When I was growing up (yes, in the dark ages) "Young Adult" wasn't the booming genre that it is today. There were books for children and then there were books for adults. Anything in the middle usually ranged from classics to the Sweet Valley High series that my mom forbade me to read. Sometimes I wish that publishers would determine a book to be "Young Young Adult" or "Older Young Adult." I would imagine that they can come up with a more creative title, but the idea is there. Please use caution when choosing what to allow your tween or young teen to read. Just because it's at the library or a friend is reading it, doesn't mean that it's appropriate for your child. Read together or choose to preview their books. Be available to talk about these very mature themes and questions that they kids might have. Give this book a try, but please carefully consider your child's ability to handle adult subjects and language.

Finding books that are appropriate and provide kids well crafted, challenging material can be frustrating and feel impossible as a parent or teacher. It is our responsibility as adults to help our kids find "good fit books" or books that are on par with our children's abilities, personalities, and disposition.

Now get out there and read on!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guest Post: Three Times Lucky

Three Times Lucky
by: Sheila Turnage

This guess post is courtesy of my book-hungry 4th grade daughter, Regan. She finished this beauty in one day....

Here is her review:

Moses's hometown will never be the same. As a baby, Mo was sent during a hurricane on a raft to North Carolina. Nobody knows where Mo is from. She got her name because of how she arrived in town-like the prophet Moses. Colonel and Ms. Lana adopted her and she grew up in a cafe. Her best friend Dale helps her save Ms. Lana, Colonel, and the whole town. When murderers and cops come to town, it is up to Moses to save the day! 

I would recommend this book to others because this story tells you how to accept and enjoy your life.You may think that Mo is a normal girl, but you are wrong. This book has lots of suspense and surprises. Three Times Lucky is a book best read by ages nine and up.


Three Times Lucky

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

A told B and B told C, "I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree." "Whee!" said D to E F G, "I'll beat you to the top of the coconut tree." Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough room?

In our house, there are few books that all of my kids have loved and asked for again and again. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is one of them. Could it be the clever alphabet rhyme or the fact that the whole book sounds like one lively song that attracts them? Or the clear, simple illustrations with letters that they can easily recognize? I have always though that my kids all loved this book because, believe it or not, they can relate to all of those poor letters with their skinned knees and stubbed toes! Whatever the reason, this is a classic and a winner.

We finally bought a copy of this book and the ragged cover that is getting soft with repeated bedtime readings was worth every penny. Tried and true, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a book to enjoy with your preschooler or early elementary aged child. My reluctant 6 year old reader says that he loves this book because, "I can read it and it's just so fun!" A truly glowing recommendation!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Thursday, March 13, 2014


by Elys Dolan


What exactly do weasels do all day? Do they frolic in the leaves, collect nuts and berries, play, hide, or....plot world domination?

This clever and fun book, complete with coffee drinking, tool wielding, madcap weasels is silliness at it finest. Mayhem and mischief surround these clever critters as they plot to take over the world. Will they be successful?

Elys Dolan's illustrations are detailed, intelligent, and fun!  It's enough to keep any keen eye and clever brain very busy looking- and laughing. Enjoy this book with your favorite fan of all things silly.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Divergent Series

by Veronica Ruth
For-12 years and older.

Beatrice Prior's lives in a dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions.  On an appointed day, 16 year olds must select a faction to devote the rest of their lives- Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).  She makes a choice that surprises herself. 

During initiation, she renames herself Tris and struggles to live out the choice she made.  She and other initiatives undergo extreme physical and psychological tests and simulations.  Tris must determine who her friends really are-and where a romance fits into the life she's chosen.  Tris also has secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death.  She begins to learn of unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, her secret might help her save those she loves or might destroy her. 

 My thoughts-  Great stories and another dystopian series.  Of course, they are making a movie.  The twists and turns are crazy.  I personally hated the ending, but I haven't enjoyed many endings of the dystopians series.  It is a good read, but for older children. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Starters by Lissa Price

by Lissa Price
Ages- 12 +

Callie (16 years old) lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first-the young and the old.  With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters and fighting off young renegaded.  Callie finds a way to make some money by renting her body to seniors who want to be young again.  When her chip malfunctions, Callie finds herself living in a mansion, dating Blake (grandson of senator) and her renter is not just partying, but using her body to commit murder.  She tries to discover why and uncovers the Body Bank's horrible plan and has to make a decision to help commit the murder to protect others or take the money and run. 

Thoughts- It was an entertaining book.  It is another dystopian book about a futuristic world where technology can be used to control people.  They is a higher and lower class.  The whole body renting thing freaks me out. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

by R. J. Palacio
Ages- 8+

 August Pullman was born with a facial deformity and it had prevented him from going to mainstream school.  Starting the 5th grade, he wants nothing more than to be treated as ordinary, but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extradordinary face. 

Thoughts- I LOVE IT!!   I am drawn towards feel good books with a powerful message.  This book is told from different points of views starting with August.  These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy ,compassion, and acceptance.  I loved how the story moved forward and didn't tell the same story from different points of view, but moved forward with different points of view.   

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tiger's Curse

By Collen Houck
Ages 12+

Kelsey Hayes never thought she would be helping to break a 300 year old curse after her parents died and she began her summer job before college. With a mysterious white tiger named Ren and halfway around the world her journey begins. She faces dark forces, spell-binding magic and mystical worlds. Kelsey risks everything to piece together an ancient prophecy.

I liked this book more than I thought. Yes, it is the first book of four. I was sucked into the series and luckily for me all the of books had been written and I didn't have to wait. There is a love triangle that forms between Kelsey, Ren and Kishan (Ren's brother-also part of the curse). I learned a ton of about Indian and Chinese folk-lore, I was kind engaged. I admit I did skip some of the poems to get to the action. Each book covers the a different aspect of breaking the curse and the book series ends with a surprising ending.

Tiger's Quest
Tiger's Dragon
Tiger's Voyage

I have not read a Tiger's Dream-which is the 5th book in this series. I am not sure how it would fit into the series but I am excited to learn how it would go all together.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Princess of Midnight Ball and Tuesdays at the Castle.

By Jessica Day George
Ages- 10+

Rose is the oldest of 12 princess that are cursed to dance every third night for the King Under Stone and his 12 sons.  They are prevented from speaking about the curse and how it began to any prince who tries to solve the mystery of why the princesses dancing shoes are worn out every 3rd night.

Galen Werner just returned from fighting in the war and lives with his aunt and begins to work at the palace garden with his uncle. Galen meets an old woman, whom he shares his food, and she returns the kindness with giving him magic knitting needles and invisibility cloak.  When Rose meets Galen in the palace garden she knows he will be the one to break the curse, but how and what price? 

I enjoyed this book and the creativity of the story.  It is a magical world that curses those that make deals with the wrong people.  Good overcomes evil.  This is the first book in a series, Twelve Dancing Princess.  Each book has its own story about one of the princess as they grow up.
Book # 2- Princess of Glass
Book #3- Princess of Silver Woods

Another book about written by Jessica Day George Day that I enjoyed was Tuesdays at the Castle.  It is about a "living" castle.  Princess Celie is excited that every Tuesday the castle creates a new room.  The king and queen's fate becomes unknown and Celie protects the castle with her knowledge of the castle's powers.   

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Little Pea

Little Pea

Little Pea
Written by: Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by: Jen Corace
Ages: 2-6

Little Pea has a loving Mama and Papa pea and has so much fun-until dinner time arrives. But what is a cute green pea to have for his dinner? Why, some delicious candy, of course! Poor Little Pea finds his dinner just deplorable. But if Little Pea doesn't eat all of his candy dinner, he can't have dessert! What is a little pea to do?

The vegetable averse in your life will love this book. Silly and fun with simple, yet charming illustrations Little Pea is sure to become a favorite in your house.