January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop: Choice of 1 of 4 Books!

Well everyone I'm easing back into blogging (apparently with giveaways!) I've really limited my participating in giveaway hops, but I thought I had to do this one!
 If you like YA books, you've got to hop around this giveaway! (ok ok I know that was lame!)
 It runs from now through the 31st. 

I'm giving away your choice of one of four books.  
The books to pick from are:
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (an ARC)
Dark Parties by Sara Grant
Hades (Halo #2) by Alexandra Adornetto
Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck

January 24, 2012

A Wrinkle In Time 50th Anniversary Celebration: Sharing the Book

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Newbery Awarding winning book A Wrinkle in Time.  Macmillan is celebrating in part by having 50 blogs talk about this book. 
 I was honored to be asked to participate! 
 I get the pleasure of writing about sharing this book.  

But first let me tell you about the amazing 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition.  

Isn't it pretty looking? I love it, and it's even prettier in person!

The 50th Anniversary Commemorative edition features:

       Frontispiece photo*†
       Photo scrapbook with approximately 10 photos*†
       Manuscript pages*†
       Letter from 1963 Caldecott winner, Ezra Jack Keats*†
       New introduction by Katherine Paterson, US National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature  †
       New afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Voiklis including six never-before-seen photos †
       Murry-O’Keefe family tree with new artwork †
       Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery acceptance speech

* Unique to this edition                † never previously published

I have to say the manuscript pages that show her actual revision is the coolest thing ever, and I will be showing it to my students.  They need to see that even award winners revise!!!

Check out more about the celebration at the A Wrinkle in Time Facebook page

Now for my thoughts on sharing this book with middle schoolers.

I have to admit it - I had never read A Wrinkle in Time before a week ago.  Yup I was that reader, that teacher, that person! But I am so glad that I did read it finally! And really I'm glad I read it now, because I can relate to people who aren't sure they want to read it.  When I share it now I'm not sharing it from a memory of when I was 11 and read it.  I'm sharing from the hear and now.  And I can understand what might be holding them back and combat it head on! Reading it now gives me a way better understanding of how and where to share this story.  And believe me I will be sharing it a lot.

But can I tell you something about sharing this book - something even I fought in myself - be ready to fight a huge misconception!  Here's what happened when I told my 12 year old daughter (an avid reader) she should read it.

Me: Hey have you ever read A Wrinkle in Time?
Her: (nose wrinkled) No.
Me: Why not?
Her: I don't know.  It's old.  I don't like old books.
Me: But it doesn't seem old!
Her: But it is.
Me: But it doesn't seem like it was written 50 years ago!
Her: (rolling her eyes) I'll read it later.
Me: No read it now.

And at that point the conversation ended because I, mom, had pushed it too much.  But what I wanted you to see was what could happen when sharing this book with middle schoolers. They see it as "old". It'll be dated.  It'll sound silly because it was written so long ago. They all want the popular "now" book.  They don't think they want an old book - You've got to make them rethink that! You've got to! To help you I've come up with a list. 

So here's my "Top Ten Ways to Change Their Minds".

10.  It never says the year! So it could be RIGHT NOW!
  9.  What? 50 years? No, no, no. 50 TEARS! It brought tears to my eyes.  You'll love it too!
  8.  Time travel and sci fi are becoming popular now! This is soooooo that AND MORE!
  7.  It has none of that annoying slang that dates it! Nothing is "groovy".  There are no "dudes". And "rad" is nowhere to be found!
  6.  Although Madeleine L'Engle calls them companion books - it's part of a series and you finally get to see what happens to the characters when they grow up! Tell me the last book series that happened in!  
  5.  THE POWER OF LOVE. Does that EVER go out of style????
  4.  Ever feel like you don't fit in? Have I got the girl for you! Meg is amazing.
  3.  Ok so yes it's 50 years old but how can something that has been around that long be wrong???
  2. Think of how impressed your parents and teachers will be when they hear you've read it!
  1. Aw just skip all that and READ IT ALOUD TO THEM!

Ok all the joking aside.  You will have to fight some bias against "old" books when recommending this one but fight tooth and nail to get them to pick it up. I haven't EVER read a book written that long ago and been blown away by the timelessness of it.  It could've been published just this year.  How was Madeleine L'Engle able to write something that timeless??? Ah.Maze.Ing. Then there's Meg! What a great role model for girls.  How did she know that girls would continue to need strong role models in their reading?  Meg is full of faults, but they don't hold her back and she does what needs to be done in the face of all fear! You go girl!

Now I also have to comment on sharing this book with adults
I asked many many teachers I work with if they had read this book.  Many said no.  And here is my theory as to why.  You know those books we're suppose to read? Like Of Mice and Men or To Kill a Mockingbird (both FANTASTIC books)  - the ones we're "suppose" to read.  They are classics.  They are to make us think.  They are to be taken seriously. Those books - well, we shy away from that sometimes.  Like the kids we want fun!

Tell an adult this:  Yes you'll think. Read it.  Yes it's different than anything else you've read.  Read it! Do you have a family you love?  Read it! Do you like to see good win? Read it.  Do want a story that shows you hope? Read it!!!! With adults you can be more direct :)

So that's how I'd share this book that I'm thankful to have finally read.  It will be in my hands a lot as I'm handing it to a new generation of students that need to go with Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace.  That need to see Meg's strength and make her their hero. Some won't get it.  But some will - and it's those kids who probably need this story the most.  So because I know those kids are out there, it will a book I'll share over and over.  (but I'm sure I'll need my top 10 list!)

January 23, 2012

GIVEAWAY: SIGNED Copy of The Book of Wonders

Today I have a great giveaway for you.  Up for grabs is a signed copy of:
 The Book of Wonders by Jasmine Richards

About the Book
Magic, Djinn, Ogres, and Sorcerers. Thirteen-year-old Zardi loves to hear stories about fantastical beings, long banned from the kingdom of Arribitha. But anyone caught whispering of their powers will feel the rage of the sultan—a terrifying usurper who, even with his eyes closed, can see all.  
When her own beloved sister is captured by the evil ruler, Zardi knows that she must go to any lengths to rescue her. Along with her best friend, Ridhan—a silver-haired, violet-eyed boy of mysterious origins—and an unlikely crew of sailors led by the infamous Captain Sinbad, Zardi ventures forth into strange and wondrous territory with a seemingly impossible mission: to bring magic back to Arribitha and defeat the sultan once and for all.

To Enter:
Watch the trailer to answer this question on the form:
How long does Zardi have to save her sister?

January 18, 2012

Random Giveaway of The Fault in Our Stars

Hey all I've got a random giveaway! I wanted a signed copy of The Fault in Our Stars.  The first one I bought was just signed, but then I went to Target and found one signed with the little fish! I wanted that one so I bought it too!!!! 
That left we with two copies.  
After surveying some people they all told me to GIVE IT AWAY!!!!! 
So that's what I'm doing.

Just in case you don't know what it's about:
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.  
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.  
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

And its signature

PS can I tell you something else:  this story has such hints at the novel I'm in the process of revising that I'm already in love with it!!!  Now shhhhh because to compare something (even remotely) I'm working on to something John Green wrote is crazy talk!!!!

Now to enter - apparently you have to click READ MORE to get the Rafflecopter to show up! Sorry! I'll need to figure that out!!!!

January 17, 2012

2k12 Guest Post: Megan Bostic - Never Eighteen

A long while back I was approached by Caroline Starr Rose to help promote the fantastic group of authors in the Class of 2k12.  These are a group of authors being published in 2012.  I jumped at the chance to help out.  
What we came up with was a series of guest posts.  The topic: 
 Since I teach 7th grade I live and breath middle school (ok some of you can stop shuddering now). 

So over the course of 2012 you will get to hear from some the the 2k12 authors and their memories/thoughts about that time in their life.  I thank each of them for jumping in a tackling the subject!
To learn about all the 2k12 authors check out their site: Class of 2k12: Fiction that Rocks

Today our 2k12-er is:
Megan Bostic

Title: Never Eighteen
Release Date: January 17th (today!)
Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life. 
Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go. 
But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.

Her Thoughts/Memories about Middle School

Megan in Middle School
First off, I’m old enough to where we called middle school, “junior high”, which was seventh through ninth grade. Seventh grade was a little awkward for me. I had just started wearing glasses the year before, started paying attention to body image and realized I could no longer eat anything I wanted without payment in either my butt or thighs, and was terrified of bullies, bad grades, and boys, not necessarily in that order.

Like any other red-blooded American middle schooler, I craved popularity, but sadly, that was not my calling. I mean, I wasn’t invisible or weird or anything, I just wasn’t in “that” group of girls. In fact, I played softball, and “that” group of girls was our biggest nemesis on the diamond. They were nice kids though, so that rivalry stayed on the baseball field.

I did have a good circle of friends of my own. We all lived near each other and liked going out for pizza, listening to rock music (groups you’ve never heard of like Van Halen, Loverboy, and AC/DC). We also liked just laughing and being goofy.

In eighth grade I became a quitter. I quit piano, I quit softball. Boys were first and foremost on my mind. I had a boyfriend for the much of that year. His name was Jeff and I really liked him, but I was still utterly and completely terrified of boys, so I tried to avoid him as much as humanly possible. This was also the year I heard my butt was fat for the first time. I don’t remember much more about eighth grade probably for good reason.

I became more like a real person in ninth grade. I finally became bad at math (I knew it was just a matter of time), but in return made the concert choir (did I mention I loved to sing?), and the drill team. My musical tastes shifted from rock to something slightly more, as we called it back then, New Wave. My circle of friends became larger, including more boys, one of which I had a giant crush on (his name was Sean). I became so confident in myself that year I actually talked to him. Unfortunately, though he liked me too, he was so shy he ran away and threw up in the hallway garbage can. Alas, we were never to be.

I think I made a pretty big leap from seventh grade uber geek to ninth grade confident flirt. One thing I didn’t accomplish in middle school: My first kiss. But that’s a story for another day.

Thank you Megan for sharing! I'm from the "junior high" era also! :) And I believe that boys took over my thoughts about that time as well!

January 16, 2012

Help with Middle Grade March Madness

Hey everyone! I'm putting together a fun March where I'll do nothing but highlight middle grade books! But I need a little help.  I've love people to join in and help if they can.  

Here's how you could help:
write a guest post about you and middle grade books
host a giveaway of a mg book
read mg and review as much as you can in March

Review Giveaway
I will be hosting a giveaway for a MG book for those that post a review of a middle grade book during the month so get your reviews ready! You'll be able to link at my site to enter.  More details to come!

So if you want to help, please fill out the form below. 
 If you've already contacted me, could you still fill it out, so I have all the info in one place! THANKS!!!!!

Also I need a button for the event.  If you are any good at that I'd sure love some help ;-)

THE FORM can be found here too if you can't see the one below.

January 10, 2012

Class of 2K12 Guest Post: Caroline Starr Rose

A long while back I was approached by Caroline Starr Rose to help promote the fantastic group of authors in the Class of 2k12.  These are a group of authors being published in 2012.  I jumped at the chance to help out.  
What we came up with was a series of guest posts.  The topic: 
 Since I teach 7th grade I live and breath middle school (ok some of you can stop shuddering now). 

So over the course of 2012 you will get to hear from some the the 2k12 authors and their memories/thoughts about that time in their life.  I thank each of them for jumping in a tackling the subject!
To learn about all the 2k12 authors check out their site: Class of 2k12: Fiction that Rocks

Today our 2k12-er is:
 Caroline Starr Rose

Her book: May B.
Release Date: January 10 (today!)
I've known it since last night:It's been too long to expect them to return. Something's happened. 
May is helping out on a neighbor's Kansas prairie homestead—just until Christmas, says Pa. She wants to contribute, but it's hard to be separated from her family by 15 long, unfamiliar miles. Then the unthinkable happens: May is abandoned. Trapped in a tiny snow-covered sod house, isolated from family and neighbors, May must prepare for the oncoming winter. While fighting to survive, May's memories of her struggles with reading at school come back to haunt her. But she's determined to find her way home again. Caroline Starr Rose's fast-paced novel, written in beautiful and riveting verse, gives readers a strong new heroine to love.

Her Thoughts/Memories of Middle School 

Today I got a phone call from a teacher at my former middle school, asking me to come talk with her students about my book. I spent seven years teaching middle school kids and have a soft spot for them, but talking to middle schoolers at my old school? The idea seems wildly crazy and stirs up all sorts of weird emotions. 

The thing about middle school is it’s really the first place a kid experiments with who they are and who they want to be. For the first time, you become aware that other people notice you (at least it was that way for me). I remember starting sixth grade in my super cool outfit -- cropped yellow pants, yellow blazer, and hot pink shirt, all three covered with numbers. A friend of my took one look at me and said, “I never knew you dressed like that.” I wasn’t sure what she meant (I’m still not sure!), but it was enough for me to realize that people tuned in to what I looked like and responded in some way. (Incidentally, that year for Halloween I was a Go Go and wore the same outfit. At every door a friend and I sang, “We’ve got the trick, you’ve got the treat, yeah, trick or treat!”).

Middle school was about studying the cool kids as they circled the halls before school began. It included slumber parties and toilet papering (almost always our mothers drove us), watching the movies La Bamba and Stand By Me (the first rated R movie I was ever allowed to see), and passing spirals filled with notes back and forth with friends. It meant big bangs (my Spanish teacher named my hairdo “the wave”), pearly pink lips, and contact lenses.

I played in my doll house until I was thirteen (though I would have never admitted this at school), danced ballet religiously, and read some books I still count as favorites: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, A SEPARATE PEACE, and GONE WITH THE WIND, which I read the summer before sixth grade and the summer after eighth.

Middle school is where the now and the not yet intersect, where childhood first flirts with adulthood. Returning to my school has stirred up some of my insecurities from those years, but it’s also reminded me of the fun it is to be a kid, to be figuring out the world on your own terms.

So here’s to middle school in all its messy glory!

Thank you so much Caroline for those great thoughts!  What an amazing reading list at 13!

If you want to know about Caroline and her book May B. you can find her in the following places:

And I really think you should check out the book trailer for May B.

January 6, 2012

January is NetGalley Month!

Red House Books is once again hosting NetGalley month for the month of January. 

Here's a bit about it!

Between January 1st and January 31st, I challenge you to read as many NetGalley books as you possibly can!

NetGalley October was a ton of fun and for January I've taken into account some participant suggestions:
*I'm using a linky tool for people to sign up with -- lets us all see and hopefully visit each other over the course of the month

*A Twitter hashtag? THERE IS ONE! It's #NetGalleyMonth and you can use it anytime you tweet about your NetGalley reads in January. I'll be checking the feed just about every night and hopefully crashing a few conversations ;)

I need to read some of my NetGalley books, so this will be a great chance to do that!

To find out more check out the post all about it from Red House Book.

January 1, 2012

Wrap Up Up Date

Ok so I really need to stop signing up for read-a-thons.  I always go into them with great intentions and then everything falls apart!!! I've only read two books :(  
Cinder and Variant.  
I'm hoping for a third before I go back to work on Tuesday!