Tuesday, July 30, 2019

SHELF QUEENS GIVEAWAY

A couple of months ago I had the awesome opportunity to interview four authors about their newly minted books.  If you haven’t listened to the SHELF QUEENS podcast yet, you can can find it on Spreker
or ITunes.

So that you don’t have to take notes as you listen, the shownotes are available here.

In honor of these four amazing authors being on the show, I am giving away a signed set of each of their new books!  
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THE PRIZE:
GIRL WITH SHARP STICKS (signed) by Suzanne Young
SLAYER (signed) by Kiersten White
CROWN OF FEATHERS (signed) by Nicki Pau Preto
SKY WITHOUT STARS (signed) by Jessica Brody with co-author Joanne Rendell
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HOW TO ENTER:
1. Listen to the podcast and leave a helpful review on iTunes (2 entries)
2. Leave an encouraging (5 words or more) comment on this blogpost (1 entry)
3. Leave an encouraging (5 words or more) comment on the Instagram post about the #GIVEAWAY (1 entry)
4. Follow Kiss the Book on 
AND/OR the RSS feed for the blog.  (You can do any or all of these) (1 entry@)
5. Retweet the TWEET about the GIVEAWAY (1 entry)
6. Leave an encouraging (5 words or more) comment on that Twitter post (1 entry)
7. BONUS:  Listen to the podcast and answer this question only on this blog post:
            Who was most on point when talking about who they would like to direct or to star as them in their future BIO PIC? AND who would you want to direct, write or play you in your future BIO PIC? (3 entries)
In all you can earn up to 14 entries in the #GIVEAWAY
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RULES and INFO:
- This giveaway ends MONDAY, July 29, 2019 at 9 am MST. The grand prize winner will be contacted after that.
- U.S. entries only.
-Giveaway not affiliated in any way with Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.
-Must be 18 or older or have parent/guardian permission to enter.
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GOOD LUCK everyone!!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Here Comes Trouble by Kate Hattemer - OPTIONAL

Here Comes Trouble by Kate Hattemer, 309 pages, Alfred A. Knopf (Random House), 2018, $17. 

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Soren Skaar’s life has changed.  His best friend and pranking partner, a girl named Alex, has moved before he begins 6th grade.  If that weren’t bad enough, his cousin, Flynn comes to spend the school year with him. Flynn is nothing like Alex.  Flynn is hip and serious about school, whereas Soren is only concerned with pranking. As Soren tries to find ways to prank without Alex, he makes some interesting allies but puts other relationships at risk.

At over 300 pages, this book felt long.  I also struggled with the pranking.  No one seemed to have a real problem with it.  As a middle school teacher I would have to find a job elsewhere than Soren’s school.   I would have liked to see Flynn’s character explored more in depth.   He seemed to have some serious issues that were glossed over.   This book was a fun premise that left me wanting more character growth.  

Michelle in the Middle, Teacher

Monday, July 22, 2019

Apocalypse Taco By Nathan Hale

Apocalypse Taco By Nathan Hale 122 pages GRAPHIC NOVEL Abrams/Amulet, 2019 $15

Language: G (0 swears 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (Creature violence, peril)

BUYING ADVISORY EL -, MS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

The Stage Crew at the High School is pulling an all-nighter to make sure everything is ready for dress rehearsal tomorrow. But when the wrestling team eats all the pizza, the drama teacher sends 3 students on a late night burger run. Unfortunately, all is not well at the Taco Bear. Their combo packs turn into these weird squid things and a battle to save the world from a crazy college student ensues. 

Nathan Hale’s science fiction terror is so fun! Kids are going to love this! Fast action, funny situations and gross mutants. What more could you want in a graphic novel?

Lisa Librarian

Take the Mic edited by Bethany C. Morrow - HIGH

Take the Mic: Fictional Stories of Everyday Resistance, edited by Bethany C. Morrow, 272 pages. Arthur Levine (Scholastic), OCTOBER 2019.  $18

Language: R (25 swears, 5 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: HS, MS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Take the Mic needs to be read by everyone age 10 or above, as far as I’m concerned.  Each story contains a vital truth about empowerment, about race relations, that can be read and discussed in any Language Arts classroom.  Morrow’s own As You Were was like a punch to my gut. Ahmed’s poem, Are You The Good Kind of Muslim? is also a touchstone. Even long-time members of the LGBT community can learn from Stoeve’s Parker Outside the Box.  Really – each offering should be read again and again.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Lair of the Beast (Snared #2) by Adam Jay Epstein - ADVISABLE

Lair of the Beast (Snared #2) by Adam Jay Epstein, 24 4 pages.  Imprint (Macmillan), 2019.  $17

Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some fighting)

BUYING ADVISORY:  EL – ESSENTIAL; MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Wily is not settling easily into his new role as the King-to be.  Any time he tries to rule, the people around him want more than he can give. Then they get mad and say he’s just like his father, the evil king. Stalag the mage, Wily’s former captor also has evil plans and Wily needs to collect a new set of adventurers if he is going to have any chance to thwart Stalag’s plans.  
I do have to hope that this doesn’t turn into a long multi volume arch of just Wily vs Stalag.  I want it to be more like Mark Forman’s Adventurers Wanted series or Zack Clark’s Adventurer’s Guild.  Epstein has the writing chops for it for sure.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The 47 People You'll Meet in Middle School by Kristin Mahoney - ADVISABLE

The 47 People You'll Meet in Middle School by Kristin Mahoney, 304 pages. Alfred A. Knopf, (Penguin, Random House), 2019. $20.

 Language: PG (2 swears (Diety) 0 'f') Mature Content: G; Violence: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY:, EL -, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Augusta has had a rough year, her parents got a divorce and she has started 6th grade in middle school. Both cause lots of life changes. She has to split her time between her mother's and father's homes, and money is tight, so the promised contact lenses are out of the question. Her sister Louise is in 4th grade and is always asking Gus what middle school is like, and this novel is a letter from Gus to her sister describing her first few months. One of Augusta's teachers challenges the kids to "find their tribe". Her best friend Layla is going to a different middle school and has already made new friends. Other kids changed over the summer and have different friend groups, so Gus is on her own to make new friends or find old friends she had taken for granted.

Does Kristin Mahoney teach middle school? She's got this, the representations of all the different kids, the kind teachers and the strict ones, what happens in the halls, problems with lockers and lunch - a well rounded representation of middle school with a great story line. I liked that each chapter introduced another character, some stayed with the story and others didn't, but that wasn't a problem.  I think this will be liked more by upper elementary, but I'm certainly buying a copy for my 7-9 middle school.

Lisa Librarian

Save the Date by Morgan Matson - OPTIONAL


Save the Date by Morgan Matson, 417 pages.  Simon and Schuster, 2018.  $18.  

Content: Language: R (24 swears; 2 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG.  

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Charlie is the youngest sister of five siblings, and she is ecstatic that her sibling are coming home for her sister, Linnie’s wedding.  Charlie is getting ready to graduate from high school and is trying to decide where she wants to go to college, but she starts to realize that she doesn’t like change, even if it is inevitable.  As the wedding party begins, many different mishaps, starting with the wedding planner quitting, cause Charlie to run all over trying to make Linnie’s day perfect.  Charlie is a great sister, and her family is endearing, but not everything is perfect.  

Reading this book felt like watching a sitcom.  I liked all the characters and even though parts of it were predictable, falling into the comfort of the Grant family was enjoyable.  There were parts that were a bit detailed and slow, but Charlie’s growth throughout the book was fun to watch.  The two random 'f' words were annoying and there is a heavy makeout scene.

Reviewer, C. Peterson. 

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman - ADVISABLE

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman, 218 pages. Pajama Press, 2019.  $18.

Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (mob threatens to burn her)

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

At 14 Nia has had to leave school because her single father can’t afford to pay for both her school fees for high school.  He usually drinks away their money anyways.  Her father disappears for longer and longer, leaving Nia to run his banana fritter cart in the market of Jakarta, Indonesia. When a rumor starts that Nia is lucky, things start to look up, but rumor can change on a whim.  If Nia is to have a future, she is going to have to carve it out for herself.

I love having a larger selection of books to show our students the lives of children in disparate parts of the world. It makes me sad that most of them about children who are barely surviving, but that’s a much more accurate look at other children’s lives and can help them build a larger world view.

If you want to see more books with similar themes and international world views, check out m Pinterest board PACK YOUR BAGS. Or you can click on the Pack Your Bags labels on the right hand column of this blog and on Kiss the Book Junior.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody - ADVISABLE


The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody, 458 pages.  Simon Pulse, 2018.  $19.  

Content: Language: PG-13 (29 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.  

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Ali is graduating from high school and is heartbroken that her and her mother have to move, since their house is foreclosing.  When an old friend of Ali’s dad shows up and gives Ali her father’s favorite possession-an old Firebird-Ali begins to hope that she can sell the car and keep her house.  Ali finds a buyer who is a few hours away, but because she can’t drive a stick shift, she enlists the help of her ex-boyfriend, Nico.  Nico and Ali have some of their own past hurts to clear up and Nico tries to help Ali come to terms with who her father was, all while on a road trip.  

My favorite part of Jessica Brody’s books is her ability to create empathetic characters.  Ali and Nico were fun to travel with and I enjoyed how they helped each other and came across fun, quirky characters along the way.  This is a good fun read. 

Reviewer, C. Peterson.      

Wreck by Kirstin Cronin-Mills - HIGH

Wreck by Kirstin Cronin-Mills, 280 pages.  Sky Pony Press, 2019.  $17.

Language: R (100+swears, 20+ “f”); Mature Content: PG-13 (dick pics mentioned, assisted suicide); Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

It’s been Tobin and her dad since she was 5 and her mother walked out on them.  Both of their worlds are ripped apart when Dad is diagnosed with ALS.  First they think he could have years as the disease takes hold, like some do, but his symptoms quickly take a quick downhill turn.  Dad is determined to take control of his own end and Tobin struggles to be supportive while dealing with her own heartache over her dad, her best friend’s, death.

Two hours is all it took to read this, because I couldn’t put it down once I started. Tobin’s anguish, her dad’s tragedy, is gripping. Cronin-Mills lays their hearts bare for us and fills her tale with tears, laughter, love. 

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

Friday, July 19, 2019

Voices from the Second World War - ESSENTIAL


Voices from the Second World War: Stories of War as Told to Children of Today by multiple authors.  NON-FICTION Candlewick Press, 2016.  $25.  

Content: Language: PG-13 (13 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13 

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – ESSENTIAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Different children throughout Europe and the United States interviewed survivors from World War II.  This book is a compilation of all the interviews and stories that were shared.  A wide range of topics are covered including, but not limited to, the British Home Front, Women at War, Bombing of Germany, the Holocaust and VE Day.  Each interview includes a picture and runs from 1-4 pages in length.  

What a fantastic resource for those studying World War II.  This would work great in a classroom, where the different perspectives could be compared and each student could take a different interview to study.  I enjoyed all the stories shared and I appreciated how many experiences were represented.  The content includes war deaths, digging own graves, bombings, beatings and shootings.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson.