What’s on My Radar: The Sweetest Heist in History (Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective) by Octavia Spencer

A year or so ago I got to meet Octavia Spencer as she debuted her new middle-grade novel: Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective.

Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective by Octavia Spencer


I loved the book, especially since there are multicultural main characters within the story: an African-American boy and a Hispanic boy who has asthma.

Spencer’s sequel: The Sweetest Heist in History is on my radar and I MUST read it!


And besides, who doesn’t love ninjas?


A New Jacqueline Woodson Title I’m Excited About

I love to read books by authors of color. Even more than that, I love to read books by authors of color ABOUT children of color! To be sure, a nice historical fiction book is ok, but why not make The Hunger Games main character a girl of color. Any color?

But I digress.  One of the authors I enjoy is Jacqueline Woodson.

jacqueline woodson


I accidentally ran into her at a posh BEA party last year. I reckon she doesn’t get recognized too much so I was all like OMG Can I have a pic???? As you can see, she wasn’t too keen on me but whatever. I LOVE her.

She’s the kind of author who writes for kids who want to use their brains. Kids will use their brains if you give them something that meets their interest.  I found a picture book about bullying of hers last year that made me weep.  WEEP. It’s called Each Kindness.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

A new girl comes to school and tries to make friends. When Chloe, the narrator, is unkind, the girl keeps trying. And then the girl is gone and Chloe is left only with the memory of her unkindness.

See? Kids GET this stuff. They realize sometimes belatedly what they should have done differently. And maybe next time they’ll get it right. This title speaks to everyone.

The crazy thing about Woodson is that she’s written TONS of books for kids of all ages and many of them are award winners. Probably you’ve heard of Hush.

When she is twelve, Toswiah and her older sister Cameron have to leave the place they’ve always known, change their identities and leave no trace of their past life. Toswiah becomes Evie. Her sister becomes Anna. In the new city, they have to reinvent themselves and figure out how to move on when just about everything they ever loved is behind them.

I could go on and on.  I recently snagged an advanced copy of her latest book, which happens to be an autobiography, called Brown Girl Dreaming. It’s an autobiography written in verse. It incorporates elements of what was going on in the civil rights movement when she was born and growing up.  It’s compelling. I can’t wait to finish it.

If you’ve not heard of Jacqueline Woodson, add her to your repertoire. It’s smart reading.



Five Techy Tools Take to a Conference Like #BEA

It’s Conference season again! How did that happen? Book Expo America is in a few short weeks (GAH!) and like you, I’m prepping for this amazing conference. I thought I’d share a post from last year in hopes that it will help you.

Conferences mean lots of primping and prepping and priming ourselves for the onslaught of new friends and new experiences.  When I’m not reading books, I’m very involved in social media and I love to have all of my tools at the ready.  Being prepared is difficult to do on the road and no one wants to be in the middle of a great session only to find your device low on battery and nowhere to recharge it! That’s why the librarian in me loves to research and try ways to help myself and others stay prepared and never find yourself in that situation again.

Did I mention I’m going to Book Expo America in 12 days? Maybe not.

I’ve prepared a video of the five techy tools that are absolutely must take to a conference.  Like Book Expo America.

Because I’m always up for learning new tips and tricks, can you share yours in the comments? Merci!

Books Conferences

Is BEA all Fun and Games? YES! and No. It’s Hard Work

BEA is HARD WORK! You on on stage and live practically 24 hours a day; either chatting with your roommate, standing inline and meeting people while waiting for authors, or doing the 4 million other activities that happen during this busy week. To be sure, it’s fun but it’s hard work having that much fun.

I should know.



But you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way. What’s your favorite conference to attend?







Looking back on BEA 2013

If you haven’t heard, this week is BEA: Book Expo America, the biggest bookish event in the US.  I’m away this week attending the event, making new friends and learning lots of new skills. I will share updates on my FB page, Twitter, and Instagram, but meanwhile, please enjoy some highlights from last year’s trip.


As you can see, I met with EVERYONE!! It was great fun and exhausting. Let’s see there was: Rick Yancy, Veronica Roth, Jacqueline Woodson, Jan Brett (I know!!), Sarah Dessen, Andrea Cremer, and oh, I don’t know, John Lewis. Most importantly? I got to hang with my old friends!


Blogging Conferences

I’m Moderating at BEA Blogger Con!

If you’re a book blogger, you’ve probably heard of Book Expo America. It’s like Disney World for book lovers! AND if you’re a blogger, you’ve also probably heard of the Book Blogger conference.


I’ve been attending BEA for a few years now and I’m always amazed at how much fun I have and also at how EXHAUSTED I am at the end of the week. Heck, who am I kidding? End of the DAY!  I run on fuel (coffee) all day everyday going to parties, grabbing books, making new friends, and learning as much as I can about the book industry.

You can imagine my delight when I was selected to moderate a panel discussion during Blogger Con!  Blogger Con, which I heard a rumor they might change the name to PammyPam Con, is Wednesday May 28th.  Maureen Johnson (THE MAUREEN JOHNSON) is the keynote speaker, how fun is that?

Blah blah blah all the important stuff: ME MEMEMEMEME 1:45pm:

Beyond the Blog: Introduce Yourself to Vlogging and Podcasting

Vlogging BEA Blogger con Vlogging copy



See there?? Look straight up! I’m the one with the tiara! I’m thrilled to be part of the lineup.  I love to vlog and I hope to share my love with others so they can party like a rock star too! I share my love of vlogging with my local friends all the time. You can find me on Youtube, Socialcam, Vine, Instagram, and just about anyplace that will let me post a video or photo of a book or a cute puppy.  Or a zombie.  I’ve even been known to pop up on the radio!

If you see me at BEA this year, I hope you’ll stop me and say HI! Just don’t poke me, I hate that. Oh and you MUST know the secret password in order to better enjoy our interactions.



FOUND! 3 Multicultural Children’s Books for You!

Wow. I read so many books I sometimes forget to post my reviews; can you believe that?  That’s why you should follow me on Goodreads AND YouTube to make sure you get all of my reviews!

Last summer I had the pleasure of visiting Lee and Low books while in New York City for BEA13.  Thanks to my roomie Thien-Kim From Left to Write for letting me tag along.  Here’s a snap of us.  I don’t know why I look like a GIANT Amazon woman person in this photo but whatever!



While we were there, were were graciously gifted with goodies! Here are my brief but nonetheless heartfelt reviews posted previously on


Rainbow Stew

rainbow stew



Three children and their grandfather pick fresh vegetables in his garden and then cook and share a meal of healthy vegetable stew.

MY REVIEW: Is there a better way to spend the day than with your Grandpa? No! The story is made even better because children of color will see themselves as the main characters. And finally, African American grandpas are shown as young and vibrant; not old, crotchety, and boring.


Hot Hot Roti for Dada-ji

hot hot roti for Dada-ji

Aneel’s grandparents have come to stay, all the way from India. Aneel loves the sweet smell of his grandmother s incense, and his grandfather, Dada-ji, tells the world s best stories. When he was a boy, adventurous, energetic Dada-ji had the power of a tiger. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir! He could shake mangoes off trees and wrangle wild cobras. And what gave him his power? Fluffy-puffy hot, hot roti, with a bit of tongue-burning mango pickle. Does Dada-ji still have the power? Aneel wants to find out but first he has to figure out how to whip up a batch of hot, hot roti Overflowing with family, food, and a tall stack of fun, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji is sure to warm the heart and tickle the tummy. Hunh-ji! Yes, sir!

MY REVIEW: Quirky tale of young Aneel who lives to spend time with his grandfather. I love the mixture of cooling into the story, as kids often relate to food. There’s a certain magical realism about Indian storytelling that is delightful. So many teachable moments in this book.

A Place Where Sunflowers Grow

a place where sunflowers grow


Under the harsh summer sun, Mari’s art class has begun. But it’s hard to think of anything to draw in a place where nothing beautiful grows — especially a place like Topaz, the internment camp where Mari’s family and thousands of other Japanese Americans have been sent to live during World War II. Somehow, glimmers of hope begin to surface — in the eyes of a kindly art teacher, in the tender words of Mari’s parents, and in the smile of a new friend. Amy Lee-Tai’s sensitive prose and Felicia Hoshino’s stunning mixed-media images show that hope can survive even the harshest injustice.

MY REVIEW: This title is an easy way to teach even the smallest child about Japanese history, internment, and human dignity.

I just realized that besides the main characters being children there is a strong grandparent presence in the books. SWOON!

Many of these great titles are being features as part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Here’s the link to the fun!

Have you read any of these titles? Are there other multicultural titles you can share?

Adult Fiction Books

The Preservationist by Justin Kramon AUTHOR VISIT


One of the funnest aspects of my job at the bookstore (Towne Book Center & Cafe) is hosting book clubs.  This month we read The Preservationist by Justin Kramon and were visited by the author himself!  To be sure, author visits are always fun and eventful but the special part of this club was that he addressed everyone’s comments personally.  What’s not to love about that?

Here’s my video review. Tell me what you think.

If your club has read The Preservationist, why not contact him and see if he’s available?  He’s a good time and a genuinely good egg.  His website is easy:  He’s also on Facebook.

Have you read it?  Tell me what you think!

Books Children

Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella by Jan Brett

If you’re a fan of children’s picture books, you’re certainly familiar with Jan Brett.  Brett is the author of the beloved The Mitten books and other very similarly designed books.  If you have children, I’m sure you have at least one Jan Brett book in your collection.  You can imagine how thrilled I was when at BEA, I stumbled into Jan Brett.  I was at a party and someone said to me “Have you met Jan Brett?” and pointed to the woman standing on my left.  To be sure, I practically fainted.  I probably drooled all over her. Or spilled my drink on her.  Prolly both.

Jan Brett

D’you see the look on my face? It’s pure HOLY COW!!!!

Yep, cuz that’s how cool I am when I meet my author rockstars.  I impress them with my dorkitude.

To be sure, when I accosted met her again, she graciously signed my book and didn’t put out a restraining order. The book she signed is a beautiful retelling of Cinderella. The book, Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella contains the familiar illustrations and sneak peaks on the sides but the setting is the lavish Russian landscape in its heyday.

Cinders Collage

You’ll enjoy the preening chickens as they dance in the lavish prince’s palace.  Cinders is sure to become a cherished book in all households.


Watch Me Chat with My Bestie @LeeMWoodruff on #BTLiveChat Weds at 2pm

You know how I like to party.

You also know how I like to party online.

You also know how I like to read.

What’s better than partying online about books?

Nothing, except maybe cupcakes.

There will be no cupcakes but I’m happy to get the chance to chat with my bestie Lee Woodruff Weds at 2pm on Booktrib Live! You may remember a year or so ago I had the pleasure of meeting Lee Woodruff at BEA.

She knocked my socks off.  She was so nice and really sweet.  I felt like she’d be the kind of woman I could have over for a cup of tea.  I even wrote about it when I reviewed her book, Those We Love Most.  You can read my post here.


Join Booktrib Live and enter to win a free copy of her book.  It’s a good summer read and one you might want to share with your best girlfriends over a couple of bottles of wine or glasses of tea.

Holla at your girl, Pammypam, Lee!