Review to come. Fans of ONE CRAZY SUMMER will not want to miss this non-fiction based account of the Young Lords and the East Harlem Garbage OffensiveReview to come. Fans of ONE CRAZY SUMMER will not want to miss this non-fiction based account of the Young Lords and the East Harlem Garbage Offensive of 1969. ...more
"Ladders" to THE SECRET GARDEN. More to say as release date nears. Ellen Potter does not disappoint here. Story moves quickly, but the writing is almo"Ladders" to THE SECRET GARDEN. More to say as release date nears. Ellen Potter does not disappoint here. Story moves quickly, but the writing is almost lyrical in places. ...more
A cute story with a little bit of mystery woven into a story of remembering the special people in our lives and the legacies they leave. . .even if thA cute story with a little bit of mystery woven into a story of remembering the special people in our lives and the legacies they leave. . .even if them leave them seemingly to a cat. ...more
I read this in advance of Noah (11) reading this for his ELA class. But actually, I read this because I saw so many of my elementary teacher friends aI read this in advance of Noah (11) reading this for his ELA class. But actually, I read this because I saw so many of my elementary teacher friends at Facebook and Twitter talking about this book this year. I knew I had better put the title in my reader advisory toolbox.
Lupe's arrival at Margie's school leads to initial discomforts. Hasn't Margie convinced her classmates--as well as herself--that she was born in the ULupe's arrival at Margie's school leads to initial discomforts. Hasn't Margie convinced her classmates--as well as herself--that she was born in the United States? That she is American?
Alma Flor Ada's wonderful little book reminds the reader that we all come from somewhere. Our families are important. And each of us has a name that means something.
Daniel (E.) Anderson collects stories of the dead in an attempt to make sense of his brother's death in the war. TReview to come as August approaches.
Daniel (E.) Anderson collects stories of the dead in an attempt to make sense of his brother's death in the war. The book takes place over the course of a summer vacation. A very nice coming of age story that has plenty of "ladders" to spare.
If you are on NetGalley, request this book. Then we can talk before August.
Through some cosmic circumstance, I love that this book shares a namesake with another of my favorite Candlewick titles, ELI THE GOOD....more
A very nice read about loss and dealing with loss. And zombies. An interesting approach here. I kept forgetting where there was a zombie-element and tA very nice read about loss and dealing with loss. And zombies. An interesting approach here. I kept forgetting where there was a zombie-element and the reveal at the end was a little anti-climactic for me as I was really reading into the relationship between Wil and Graham. So, this is not a criticism but a celebration of the approach. If you want to read about zombies coming back to life, you're in. . .and if you want to read about love and loss and putting it all back together. . .you're in. Handing this one over to Noah next. . ....more
This is one you'll have to read for yourself. The subject of the book is one of a personal, but most familiar, issue for boys.
With NERD GIRLS and nowThis is one you'll have to read for yourself. The subject of the book is one of a personal, but most familiar, issue for boys.
With NERD GIRLS and now THE DOWNSIDE OF BEING UP, Alan Sitomer is securing his place as a middle grade humor writer which will no doubt put in a well-deserved place with authors like Lubar, Paulsen, and Sachar.
Alan writes this one pretty true to the pre-adolescent/adolescent experience, complete with the anxiety that comes from within and the humor without.
Encourage young guy readers to find this title. It could be that they get more information about this subject than any other place.
Ask any middle grade reader about school and you might get a response along the lines of "School is tough."
But Splendid Academy is not like any otherAsk any middle grade reader about school and you might get a response along the lines of "School is tough."
But Splendid Academy is not like any other school. Here, students and faculty meet for breakfast each day, students are allowed to run from place to place, and candy dishes that never seem to empty are to be found in every desk in every room.
Education reform aside, most would agree that this would be a fantastic school to attend.
And the noun form of fantastic?
So, what is happening at Splendid Academy. Why are students sitting dreamily through breakfast consuming more than a normal child could in one sitting? Sitting dreamily through lessons while consuming bottomless bowls of M&Ms? What of the mysterious Ms. Morrigan who is seemingly able to be everywhere at once? And what of the mysterious music teacher, Ms. Threnody who won't allow Lorelei to sing, forcing each of the students to learn to play a reed pipe instead?
And what of the wait staff, who never say a word while serving food or moving about the corridors? Why do some of these servers look familiar from the pictures of students who have attended the various Splendid Academies found around the world?
And why is one boy, a chubby boy named Andrew, encouraging Lorelei not to eat? And why does he choose to shove sand in her mouth on the playground risking punishment for himself?
And can any of this confusion help Lorelei to sort out her feelings about her family at home and the guilt she carries for her mother's death?
THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY reads like Willy Wonka Meet The Wall (with a tinge of Ordinary People ((how's this for a mash-up), but tucked inside a story that reads like a classic fairy tale is something a little more tender and is not to be missed this fall by middle grade readers and their reader advisors.
Nikki Lofton gives us all of the checkpoints of a classic fairy tale:
*A family broken apart by a death and a ham-handed attempt to try to put it back together again. (Lorelei's mother passes away and she is keeping a deep, dark secret that can only be kept within the heart of a deep-feeling twelve-year-old)
*Bad things befalling characters and settings with a progressive "Wow. I didn't think that would happen" kind of feel (Father remarries, a school burns down and a new one is built immediately in its place).
*Characters are placed within a new, somewhat out-of-the-ordinary experience wherein questions must be answered quickly in order to navigate (or survive).
*Opposing forces vying for the affections of a character who doesn't quite know where their heart is at the moment let alone make decisions for its disposition.
Like a good fairy tale, some answers come quickly and the reader moves along the breadcrumb trail to try to figure out how the protagonist will navigate the conflict, but Loftin provides plenty of twists and turns within the book to keep one in the story. Her treatment of the kitchen staff is particularly tender and in this section of the book there are all kinds of extensions to familiar stories and multi-cultural lore (inviting even more reader recommendations).
And when Lorelei finally confronts the evil that she has been facing throughout the book, readers will not have predicted what needs to be faced down in order for the hero to come out on the other side.
Nikki Loftin demonstrates in this book that comfort food is anything but, and what she cooks up in THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY is classic fun for reading audiences.
From a reader-advisory/teacher viewpoint, middle grade fiction should have a little bit of magic within. Characters should look and sound familiar and have those tweeny-transitional concerns that are immediately recognizable by the middle grade reader. I'm of the opinion that when these middle grade titles have some natural tie-in with familiar stories (which open portals between NOW and NEXT) then so much the better for these readers.
Pair up Nikki Loftin's book with those by Jackson Pierce (SISTERS RED, SWEETLY)
Fans of 2011 titles like Anne Ursu's BREADCRUMBS, Laurel Snyder's BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX, and Patrick Ness's A MONSTER CALLS,and 2010 titles like Adam Gidwitz's A TALE DARK AND GRIMM won't want to miss Nikki Loftin's THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY. Loftin's book will also work well with Amber McRee Turner's 2012 spring release, SWAY....more
I'll admit it here as he would not dare to show himself here at something called "GOODreads"--I love the Vordak the IncGreat Gassy Goblins! He's back!
I'll admit it here as he would not dare to show himself here at something called "GOODreads"--I love the Vordak the Incomprehensible books.
With a nod to the tradition of comic book presentations of good versus evil, with all of the dastardly deeds and the square-chinned nemeses with super names like Commander Virtue, the Vordak series from Egmont USA are a strong example of how to write humor for younger and middle grade audiences. In a review of one of Vordak's first book, HOW TO GROW UP AND RULE THE WORLD, I shared that I gave a copy of the book to a good friend at Silver Creek High School is regarded as one of THE local authorities on comic books and comic book series. His comment that came back is that the Vordak books get it right--the voice is consistently evil and the dichotomy of good and evil is perfectly-portrayed.
In this latest evil installment, Vordak is goaded by The Blue Buzzard to prove his prowess by entering an contest for evil villains and their sons.
But Vordak has been so busy concocting plans to rule the world that he has never had time to have a child.
So, he enlists the help of a cloning scientist named Fred. . .
And while we might present the Vordak series--and now DOUBLE TROUBLE--as some kind of fun, mental floss reading, the books are not afraid to tackle deeper social issues and themes:
Clowning and Cloning: What We Learn from Letter Man The Desire of Babbling Bafoons to Rule the World The Complexity of a Nefarious Ninny Raising/Nurting a Clone The Return to Who We Once Were to Find We Are Just an Older Version of our Incredibly Insipid Selves Pathetic Paternity: Father/Son Relationships and the Truth about Family Upstaging and the Modern Scientist: The Difficulty that Comes of Having Too Many Freds Animal Husbandry (Vordak's relationship with his faithful dog, Armegeddon--like STONE FOX). The Innate Goodness of a Man: What Lies Deep Within the Heart of Evil.
We don't want to offer anything that looks like a spoilers here. The new book drops in August. But, if you have enjoyed the previous two books, you will love the set up and delivery of DOUBLE TROUBLE.
What's more--it looks like the author and publisher have opened doors to further installments. For the love of humanity. . .
You'll have to admit. . .burying this review within a site that starts with the word "good" is really quite evil, is it not?
But, seriously. . .
Noah (12) LOVES the Vordak books and he has since the first one came out. Mailings from the author/illustrator come addressed to Noah, not to me, and I have seen the transformative power of this interaction between author and reader. The author/illustrator have a keen sense of younger readers and they play to anything that appeals to this demographic.
The voice is most authentic in the books. They are meant to be evil and over-the-top. We won't disclose the actual author and illustrators' names here. They are listed as minions in the back of the book. But I have known these gentlemen to be most responsive to younger readers and classroom communities. The satire and parody found in the Vordak books make them an instant ladder for your fans of Captain Underpants. The cultural allusions found within the book make for a a deeper reading and a path to cultural literacy.
I'm so happy to have picked up Milo today. It's been on the shelf for sometime with the recommendation of some Centurion friends at Facebook. And thenI'm so happy to have picked up Milo today. It's been on the shelf for sometime with the recommendation of some Centurion friends at Facebook. And then, Alan posted a comment on a thread I was working on over at Facebook and I thought. . .I am going to read that book today.
Sometimes, in the all of the darkness and grief cited by those looking into the MG/YA fishbowl, something gets missed. There is a lot of hurt piled upon the awkwardness that is the MG years (let's sit down sometime and I will share with you my MG years; I can only assume there will be parts of the story you will find familiar).
Milo is a 7th-grader who has moved no fewer than five times in his own lifetime. After moving from "the fog house (this is revealed in the book)," he finds himself in a new home with his Dad, sister. . .well. . .his Dad and his sister. His mother has died two years prior to our meeting Milo of cancer. Milo is in a state of latent grief, living in a vacuum of a home with a depressed father and an otherwise occupied sister.
But somehow Milo motors on and finds his way into yet another new school, following the routines and falling in love with the object of his desire, Summer Goodman (we meet Summer in the opening lines of the book). With a good friend like Marshall, who shares a taste for bad Freezes and even worse films , and a mysterious neighbor lady who Milo criticizes for the incorrect, indiscreet purchase of pumpkins, maybe a kid can find their way to healing and self-discovery.
The winner of the 2011 Sid Fleischman Award, Silberberg's book is poised to find itself on a ladder with the Wimpy Kid books, but sets itself apart with Silberberg's ability to capture a moment, an emotion in what might otherwise be seen as a complimentary image carrying the story. Milo might also find itself on a ladder with John Gosselink's THE DEFENSE OF THADDEUS A. LEDBETTER.
A wonderful read for your MG readers. But on more than one page turn, I found myself thinking of my own maternal losses. Don't write off Milo as just an MG title. Milo is moving. . .and essential. I want to thank the person who recommended it to me. . ....more