Categories
Books Children Reviews

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

Dontcha love a book that references other books?  It’s the BEST!  Capture the Flag by Kate Messner does this and I love it.  One of the heroes in the story carries around his Harry Potter collection and often quotes from them.  Like so:

The boy held up a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, whose pages appeared to be on the verge of spilling out all over the terminal.  The cover was worn and torn, loved to death like Anna’s copy of Harriet the Spy.  The boy grinned.  “This one’s my favorite.”

 

To be sure, I have well-loved books like that too.  Not a feeling you can replicate with an electronic book.  Or can you?

Anyway, I was SO excited to share my review with you that I made a video!

Like to see it?

 

Do you have a fave well-worn book? What is it?

Maybe Capture the Flag will be MINE!

I give this book 4 paws for positive multicultural characters in an interesting and totally believable setting.

 

Categories
Books Children

Want to Try Reading Something Different? 4 To Try: Middle Grade

Ever found yourself wanting to try a new type of book abut don’t know what to try? To be sure, trying a new genre can be either rewarding or a failure; I mean what if you hate the book while you’re reading it? I always say life’s too short to continue to read a book you don’t love. You have my permission to put it away and pick up something else. I took a chance recently on a book by Neil Gaiman, you know, the man who wrote Coraline (which I thought was super creepy)? Well last year he wrote a book called Ocean at the End of the Lane. I loved it! The writing was so beautiful I thought, wow, look at all this great writing I’m missing out on.

So, you could get lucky by trying something new.  Here are four books you might want to try:

4ToTrymiddle grade.jpg

Let’s start with the book on the top left:

Wonder by RJ Palacio

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

Around here, it’s on many required reading lists.  If you’ve wanted to check this book out, why not now?

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

When Colton Burpo made it through an emergency appendectomy, his family was overjoyed at his miraculous survival. What they weren’t expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the months that followed–a story as beautiful as it was extraordinary, detailing their little boy’s trip to heaven and back.

Colton, not yet four years old, told his parents he left his body during the surgery-and authenticated that claim by describing exactly what his parents were doing in another part of the hospital while he was being operated on. He talked of visiting heaven and relayed stories told to him by people he met there whom he had never met in life, sharing events that happened even before he was born. He also astonished his parents with descriptions and obscure details about heaven that matched the Bible exactly, though he had not yet learned to read.

With disarming innocence and the plainspoken boldness of a child, Colton tells of meeting long-departed family members. He describes Jesus, the angels, how “really, really big” God is, and how much God loves us. Retold by his father, but using Colton’s uniquely simple words, “Heaven Is for Real” offers a glimpse of the world that awaits us, where as Colton says, “Nobody is old and nobody wears glasses.”

I tend to shy away from obvious religious books because I don’t want to offend or appear to favor one over the other. What I like about the book is how the book is supposedly told from the viewpoint of the little guy; which appeals to the little kid inside me.  Also? Nobody wears glasses? TOTALLY COOL.

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Aside from the fact that everything Kate writes turns to gold, who doesn’t want to read a book about a person named Ulysses? Or rather a squirrel, but no matter:

Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo. It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him.

What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. 

What thrills me about this book is that it’s part novel and part comic book. Aside from the fact that the main character is a self proclaimed cynic. What’s up with that?

Hilarity, supposedly. We should check it out together.

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

This book should be a no brainer. The cover should give it away. Why am I interested in this book? Look at the different ethnicities of kids on the cover. I LOVE IT!

Saving the school — one con at a time.

Jackson Greene has reformed. No, really he has. He became famous for the Shakedown at Shimmering Hills, and everyone still talks about the Blitz at the Fitz…. But after the disaster of the Mid-Day PDA, he swore off scheming and conning for good.

Then Keith Sinclair — loser of the Blitz — announces he’s running for school president, against Jackson’s former best friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby hasn’t talked to Jackson since the PDA, and he knows she won’t welcome his involvement. But he also knows Keith has “connections” to the principal, which could win him the election whatever the vote count. 

So Jackson assembles a crack team:  Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess. Charlie de la Cruz, reporter. Together they devise a plan that will take down Keith, win Gaby’s respect, and make sure the election is done right. If they can pull it off, it will be remembered as the school’s greatest con ever — one worthy of the name THE GREAT GREENE HEIST.

Sounds great, right? Think Ocean’s 11 meets High School Musical. Without the singing, of course. I can’t WAIT to get my hands on this multicultural book.  Some publishers make my heart go pitter pat.

So…what do you think? See anything you might want to try? Let me know!


1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

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resources

Add Storia to your Holiday Shopping List

Just in time for holiday shopping season, my good friends at Scholastic have a fun app for kids that I thought I would share with you! The app is called Storia, isn’t that a great name? Storia has learning activities, books, a dictionary and parental settings.

Here I am reading Bad Pets on the Storia app on my iPad:

How cute is that doggie? How could he possibly be bad?

Storia includes:

  • Learning activities-to enhance growth with helpful games
  • Read-to-me books-to create interactive experience
  • A dictionary-to comprehend the content
  • Highlighter and notetakers-to pinpoint the important information
  • Personalized Book Shelves– to organize each child’s reading levels
  • Private parent settings-to ensure your child is progressing with reading

The free app and the five free ebook downloads are the perfect supplement tools to enhance your child’s learning experience. Storia® also offers more than 2,000 titles for kids from toddlers through teens, about 350 of which are enriched with vocabulary, comprehension, and video activities.

The Storia® app can be downloaded FREE to PC, iPad or Android tablets (with more platforms to come later this fall) to start a digital library for home or classroom use, and comes with five FREE ebooks – including a special Clifford the Big Red Dog® ebook in honor of his Big Red 50th birthday this year.

Storia® has been recognized by Warren Buckleitner with the “Editor’s Choice Award” as “the top” children’s ebook app in Children’s Technology Review, named one of the “Top 10 Best High Tech Products of 2012” by Dr. Toy, and has received glowing reviews in The New York Times and School Library Journal.

Storia® ebooks can be purchased through The Scholastic Store online or Scholastic Book Clubs.

All of the above is just a fancy way of saying: download the Storia app, it’s fun!  I found it easy to use, it’s kinda like Kindle, only from Scholastic so you know it’ll be safe for the kiddos!

Here’s a video if you want to know more.

 

Categories
Books Children Reviews

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

Dontcha love a book that references other books?  It’s the BEST!  Capture the Flag by Kate Messner does this and I love it.  One of the heroes in the story, carries around his Harry Potter collection and often quotes from them.  Like so:

The boy held up a copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, whose pages appeared to be on the verge of spilling out all over the terminal.  The cover was worn and torn, loved to death like Anna’s copy of Harriet the Spy.  The boy grinned.  “This one’s my favorite.”

 

To be sure, I have well-loved books like that too.  Not a feeling you can replicate with an electronic book.  Or can you?

Anyway, I was SO excited to share my review with you that I made a video!

Like to see it?

 

Do you have a fave well worn book? What is it?

Maybe Capture the Flag will be MINE!

I give this book 4 paws for positive multicultural characters in an interesting and totally believable setting.

 

Categories
Books Challenges Children

Ghost Buddy by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver [email protected]@y

Yes, you read that right, Henry “The Fonz” Winkler is the author of a book!  You may not know this, but Henry Winkler is very active in children’s programming and has written many, many books for kids. I was a Fonz fan and as you know, LOVE children’s books.

Keep reading for a special surprise!

You cannot imagine my joy when I was approached to read Winkler’s and Oliver’s latest endeavor, a series entitled: Ghost Buddy.  Here’s what they’re saying.

We are excited to celebrate Scholastic’s release of Ghost Buddy #2: Mind If I Read Your Mind? by New York Times-bestselling authors Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver. Ghost Buddy #2 is the follow-up book to the very successful 1st in the series, Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero.  Comical characters and hilarious plots will delight your kids and bring a fun reading experience to the long days of summer.  It’s the perfect title for a family book club get-together!

I can’t agree more. The story, for middle grades, is about Billy Broccoli, a middle schooler who has trouble fitting in.  We’re introduced to Billy and his ghost buddy, Hoove in book one, Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero. It’s a story everyone can relate to.  What I love MOST about the series is that there is a great ethnic blend of children: one in a wheelchair, an Indian (South Asian) child, one of Hispanic heritage, etc.  AND these kids do not act like stereotypical ethnic groups!! High five for Winkler and Oliver for getting it RIGHT!

Everyone can identify with a kid who doesn’t fit in but desperately wants to.  Billy and Hoove have an adventure and they each learn a thing or two along the way about themselves and friendship. This series is great for teachers.  Scholastic, who thinks of everything, even has a teachers guide.

Intrigued?  Wanna get your hands on the first book in the series Ghost Buddy: Zero to Hero? I’m giving away a copy!  Leave a comment below and I’ll choose a winner. Contest ends September 20th at Midnight EST.  SUPER EASY GIVEAWAY, right?

How cute is that book cover?  You’re gonna love it as much as I did.  I give the book four paws for ethnic diversity and teaching a lesson without being pedantic.