December 6, 2017

Nonfiction Review: 1,000 Facts About the White House

Title: 1,000 Facts about the White House
Author: Sarah Wassner Flynn

Welcome to the White House! Go behind the scenes to get a 360-degree view of America's most famous president's residence, from how it was built in 1792 and the fire of 1812, to today's state dinners, celebrations, celebrity pets, and more. Discover through 1,000 fun-to-read facts what it's like to live and work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the quirky rules of the house and how the Secret Service keeps it safe. Find out how the kids who have lived there play, watch movies, and entertain friends. With a treasure trove of material from the White House Historical Association, this book presents a fascinating story of the building and the many people who have shaped its 225-year history.


Ok we all know about the White House right?  It's the place where the president lives.  But what do you really KNOW about it?  This book is filled with all kinds of little tidbits about the house we see all the time in the news and in movies etc.  There are facts about it's history, the animals that have lived there, food at the White House, ghosts (my favorite part!), and how it has changed over time.  

What I really liked is that the infomration is grouped just like that. It's not just a long list of 1000 facts.  Instead the facts are grouped up.  So if you're interested in one topic over another, you can just read that topic.  Which is why I was able to jump the the ghost facts first.

As I've said before on the blog I often times see my son's reaction to a book as an indication of it's ability to hook other kids.  My son spotted it sitting out and started asking all kinds of questions about it.  I think he was interested because, just like me, I knew the White House, but I wanted to know more.  

Also - it has great photgraphs throughout the book.  So not only do you get to learn about some new things, you can see what they are talking about as well. 


In the End: Great book with lots of fantastic facts both fun and serious.  



I would add this for sure!  We should all know more about the house the President lives in! 

December 4, 2017

Review: Click'd by Tamara Ireland Stone

Title: Click'd
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Allie Navarro can't wait to show her best friends the app she built at CodeGirls summer camp. CLICK'D pairs users based on common interests and sends them on a fun (and occasionally rule-breaking) scavenger hunt to find each other. And it's a hit. By the second day of school, everyone is talking about CLICK'D.

Watching her app go viral is amazing. Leaderboards are filling up! Everyone's making new friends. And with all the data Allie is collecting, she has an even better shot at beating her archenemy, Nathan, at the upcoming youth coding competition. But when Allie discovers a glitch that threatens to expose everyone's secrets, she has to figure out how to make things right, even if that means sharing the computer lab with Nathan. Can Allie fix her app, stop it from doing any more damage, and win back the friends it hurt-all before she steps on stage to present CLICK'D to the judges?


Before the review I want to mention to the teachers and librarians out there - there is a teacher's guide for Click'd! Check it out HERE


Right now I am teaching a coding class to 6th graders, and it has been really fun.  I love how coding makes them think and be ok with things not going right the first time! It really forces them to think through the problem and be ok with trial and error.  So when I was given this book for review I hoped it would fit with that.  I wasn't disappointed.  I was really pleased with how this book talked about coding.  It was factual about coding but not so much that the average kid would be lost.  It kept it at their level! I think the use of the app Allie created would hold their attention.  I could see them imagining how they might use an app like it at school!

Mostly though I liked how it is a story that kids can relate to at the middle school age.  All kids can relate to the idea of their deepest secrets seeing the light of day and the horror of being the one that causes that.  Allie is a great character throughout all that.  She's typical for the age in her reactions but also a great role model for how to handle something big like this.  I liked her a lot.  

In the end: I liked that it showed the fun and challenge of coding (for both boys and girls - with an emphasis on girls) and at the same time was just a good book about friendship and taking responsibility for a situation you caused! 

Sidenote- Allie's app is super cool and I wish it really existed!  




Yes I'd put this in the library!  I think kids would be interested in it - especially at my school where they have to take coding.  

November 30, 2017

Nonfiction Review: History's Mysteries: Curious clues, Cold Cases and Puzzles from the Past by Kitson Jazynka

Title: History's Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases and Puzzles from the Past
Author: Kitson Jazynka

Why were the Easter Island heads erected? What really happened to the Maya? Who stole the Irish Crown Jewels? The first book in this exciting new series will cover history's heavy-hitting, head-scratching mysteries, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke, the Bermuda Triangle, the Oak Island Money Pit, Stonehenge, the Sphinx, the disappearance of entire civilizations, the dancing plague, the Voynich manuscript, and so many more. Chock-full of cool photos, fun facts, and spine-tingling mysteries.


What a great book!!! Loved it! I'm totally into all things mysterious, so this was a perfect fit for me.  Some of the stories I had heard about before (Yeti), but others were new.  I think that's what I liked the most - that it included some stories I had never heard of before.  And since I love stories like this it was nice to hear about some new ones.  

The pictures in the book are great - real photographs for the most part.  Very colorful, large and detailed pictures.  That really added to the enjoyment of the stories. I could see kids really looking at the pictures to see the details talked about in the pieces. 

Library Thoughts: I would for sure add this to the library! This falls in the high interest nonfiction catigory 100%!

Final Thought: Great little book.  Loved it and can see kids loving it too.  

November 28, 2017

Book Place: Children of Refuge by Margaret Peterson Haddix +GIVEAWAY!

Super excited today to be a part of the book blast for Children of Refuge!!!
I love Margaret Peterson Haddix, so I jumped at the chance to promote her latest. 

Synopsis 

After Edwy is smuggled off to Refuge City to stay with his brother and sister, Rosi, Bobo, and Cana are stuck alone—and in danger—in Cursed Town in the thrilling follow-up to Children of Exile from New York Times bestselling author, Margaret Peterson Haddix.

It’s been barely a day since Edwy left Fredtown to be with his parents and, already, he is being sent away. He’s smuggled off to boarding school in Refuge City, where he will be with his brother and sister, who don’t even like him very much. The boarding school is nothing like the school that he knew, there’s no one around looking up to him now, and he’s still not allowed to ask questions!

Alone and confused, Edwy seeks out other children brought back from Fredtown and soon discovers that Rosi and the others—still stuck in the Cursed Town—might be in danger. Can Edwy find his way back to his friends before it’s too late?


Praise for CHILDREN OF REFUGE

This is a topical thriller that brings heart and thought to the sci-fi genre. ―Kirkus Reviews

The plot twists are multiple, exciting, and completely logical… An excellent dystopian adventure for tweens. ―Booklist


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Margaret Peterson Haddix grew up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio. She graduated from Miami University (of Ohio) with degrees in English/journalism, English/creative writing and history. Before her first book was published, she worked as a newspaper copy editor in Fort Wayne, Indiana; a newspaper reporter in Indianapolis; and a community college instructor and freelance writer in Danville, Illinois.

She has since written more than 40 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of Time; Double Identity; Uprising; The Always War; the Shadow Children series; the Missing series; the Children of Exile series; the Under Their Skin duology; and The Palace Chronicles. She also wrote Into the Gauntlet, the tenth book in the 39 Clues series. Her books have been honored with New York Times bestseller status, the International Reading Association’s Children’s Book Award; American Library Association Best Book and Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers notations; and numerous state reader’s choice awards. They have also been translated into more than twenty different languages.

Haddix and her husband, Doug, now live in Columbus, Ohio. They are the parents of two grown kids.


Photo Content from Margaret Peterson Haddix



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--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter


15 Winners will receive a Copy of CHILDREN OF REFUGE by Margaret Peterson Haddix.


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November 20, 2017

Review: Random Illustrated Facts

Title: Random Illustrated Facts: A Collection fo Curious, Weird and Totally Not Boring Things to Know
Author: Mike Lowery

A collection of illustrated trivia unlike any other. From glow-in-the-dark cats to Jupiter's diamond showers to the link between dancing goats and the discovery of coffee, here are up to 100 obscure and fascinating facts brought to life in Mike Lowery's quirky, hilarious style. Each illustrated fact is paired with a handwritten web of related tidbits, recreating an entertaining dive down a trivia rabbit hole. 



What a fun little book!!!!! I can see kids loving this book and laughing at parts of it.  My 10 year old saw it and was immediately drawn to it, so I know it's one kids would enjoy.  Honestly I can see leaving it in the car, so on trips the kids could pick it up and flip through it. I can see the random facts spurring more conversation about different topics. 

Oh and the illustrations - so, so fun!! I love the colors too. It's made with muted bright colors (yes I know that doesn't sound right), but that's what it is.  And it almost looks like someone  just sat down a created doodles for the whole thing.  It gives it a fun whimsical look. Well done!

For the library:  YES! 
Best for ages: ANY! 

November 14, 2017

Pocket Flyers by ken Blackburn and Jeff Lammers

About a month ago I got a package in the mail and was excited by what I found inside.  Inside were three books on making paper airplanes! 
I've got two boys at home, and I knew they would love these.


Pocket flyers Paper Airplane Book, a flyaway impulse book if ever there was one. Developed by the same team of Ken Blackburn and Jeff Lammers, Pocket Flyers Paper Airplane Book features 12 Lilliputian-size models, for a total of 74 planes. The models are about one-quarter the size of the planes in the previous books and are designed with original full-color graphics. There are easy folding instructions for each, as well as special tips on how to fly smaller aircraft. The portable package and its planes are perfect for small spaces: the office, the den, the back of the minivan, drinking establishments. The obsessed among us will try to establish a mini plane world record. The rest of us will be content to just fly these flashy Piper cubs of paper from one side of the room to the other. And with the Microjet, Angelfish, Flying Sneaker, Gargoyle, and Dragonfly, there promises to be a lot of contentment.

These books are awesome! First they show you how to make the airplane (or creature), and then they supply several copies of the paper for that model.  Love it! My boys are always looking for paper and news ways to fold, and these books allowed that.  

I ended up bringing them to school and putting them in our maker table.  Several kids have dived in and make some of the creations.

I'd definitely recommend the books to anyone who loves to make paper airplanes, likes to tinker with things, or just likes to be creative! 

November 5, 2017

Audio Book Review: The Diviners by Libba Bray



Title: The Diviners
Author: Libba Bray
Narrator: January LaVoy
Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.



This one took my awhile to get into.  It was slow moving at first because there were so many characters introduced.  Be warned - the cast of characters is HUGE.  As I was listening I had to remind myself who was who sometimes.  I'm guessing as the series goes along they'll come together more (actually this started happening towards the end), and that will help.  But during much of the book they were very separate, and that was a bit confusing.  To be honest I only kept listening because I heard it got really good towards the end.  I'll agree with that - it did get much as the book went along.  I just had a ton of set-up it needed to get through first.  I ended up liking the book, and would recommend it with the warning about the set-up aspect.  

Oh also - the creepy factor was very good at part which is why I wanted to read the book in the first place.  The book did a great job in that regards.  When it was suppose to be creepy - it was! Many times I was like "Evie no! Don't! Go back!".  That kind of stuff! 

Thoughts on the audio book: 
The narrator did a great job with all the voices and SINGING! I would definitely listen to this narrator again.  I will say tho - part of Evie started to bug me, and I think that's because I was listening to it.  She used a lot of time period slang and it grated on m after awhile.  If I had been reading as oppose to listening I don't think it would've been as bad.  

November 3, 2017

The Life and Death Parade Cover Reveal +GIVEAWAY!!



Today Eliza Wass and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE LIFE AND DEATH PARADE, which releases June 26, 2018! 
Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win an ARC!

On to the reveal! 



Title: THE LIFE AND DEATH PARADE
Author: Eliza Wass
Pub. Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 256
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDGoodreads

One year ago, Kitty's boyfriend Nikki Bramley visited a psychic who told him he had no future. Now, he's dead.

With the Bramley family grieving in separate corners of their home, Kitty sets out to find the psychic who read Nikki his fate. Instead she finds Roan, an enigmatic boy posing as a medium who belongs to the Life and Death Parade--a group of supposed charlatans that explore, and exploit, the thin veil between this world and the next. A group whose members include the psychic... and Kitty's late mother.

Desperate to learn more about the group and their connection to Nikki, Kitty convinces Roan to return to the Bramley house with her and secures a position for him within the household. Roan quickly ingratiates himself with the Bramleys, and soon enough it seems like everyone is ready to move on. Kitty, however, increasingly suspects Roan knows more about Nikki than he's letting on. And when they finally locate the Life and Death Parade, and the psychic who made that fateful prophecy to Nikki, Kitty uncovers a secret about Roan that changes everything.

From rising star Eliza Wass comes a sophisticated, mesmerizing meditation on the depths of grief and the magic of faith. After all, it only works if you believe it.


About Eliza:

Eliza Wass is an author, journalist and the wife of the late musician Alan Wass. Her debut novel, The Cresswell Plot, was published in 2016 to critical acclaim by Disney-Hyperion. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, Grazia, NME, Shortlist and THE FALL.
Her second book with Disney-Hyperion, The Life and Death Parade, will be published in June 2018.





Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of THE LIFE AND DEATH PARADE (when they become available), US Only.

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October 25, 2017

Cover Reveal: Dear Rachel Maddox +GIVEAWAY!!!




Today Adrienne Kisner and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover and an exclusive excerpt for DEAR RACHEL MADDOW, which releases June 5, 2018! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win an ARC!

On to the reveal! 



Title: DEAR RACHEL MADDOW
Author: Adrienne Kisner
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 400
Find it: AmazonB&NTBDGoodreads

Sixteen-year-old Brynn Harper’s life has one steadying force—Rachel Maddow. She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project—and actually getting a response—Brynn starts drafting emails to Rachel but never sending them. It’s an outlet; Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with Sarah, her first serious girlfriend, about her beloved brother Nick’s death, her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she’s stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out. 

But then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. She learns that one student representative will be allowed to have a voice among teachers and administrators in the selection of a new school superintendent. Sarah, along with Brynn’s arch-nemesis John, believe only honors students worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn knows they are more interested in power and perks. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position the knives are out and her brother’s memory and her new crush Michaela are shamed. Brynn asks herself: What would Rachel Maddow do? 


Exclusive Excerpt!
Folder:  Sent
To: egrimm@westing.pa.edu
Date:  September 10
Subject:  School Assignment

Dear Rachel Maddow,
I am writing to you because of a school assignment.  It’s a totally lame reason to be writing, but I don’t think you’ll actually read it anyway.  This kind of thing is so sixth grade.  I am a junior in high school and I’ve been forced to write to a “celebrity hero” by the Applied Language Arts teacher.  (Hey Mr. Grimm!  How’s it hanging, buddy?)  I wasn’t going to do it, because my ex-girlfriend worships you and, hello, school assignment.  But I turned on your show and Mom totally freaked out to see me watching you.  Apparently your liberal and leftist views don’t sit well with her.  Mom spat out the words like she was talking about my dad, so I knew she meant it.  That made you my celebrity hero.
You were talking about some guys running for congress.  But then you said one of them was “freaking amazing.”  I don’t think news people are supposed to say things like that.  And isn’t that biased?  News people aren’t supposed to be biased.  I know this because Mr. Grimm made us watch this video about newswriting.  Though no one else knows this about me, Rachel Maddow, I have a near photographic memory for stuff people say.  Their words just stick in my brain.  So I remember what a reporter is supposed to do. 
Anyway, thanks for pissing off my Mom.
Sincerely,
Brynn Harper

Folder:  Sent
From: Egrimm@westing.pa.edu
Date:  September 11
Subject:  RE: School Assignment

Dear Rachel Maddow,
I am writing to you because of a school assignment.  It’s a totally lame reason to be writing, but I don’t think you actually read them anyway.  This kind of thing is so sixth grade.  [Brynn, this is good, honest writing.  Can you try to put a positive spin on it?]  I am a junior in high school and I’ve been forced [asked] to write to a “celebrity hero” by the Applied Language Arts teacher.  (Hey Mr. Grimm!  How’s it hanging, buddy?)  [I’m doing well, thanks.  But you can take this out.] I wasn’t going to do it, because my ex-girlfriend worships you and, hello, school assignment. And Mom totally freaked out to see me watching you.  Apparently your liberal and leftist views still don’t sit well with her.  Mom spat out the words like she was talking about my Dad, so I knew she meant it.  So that made you my celebrity hero.  [Again, great personal touch.  But maybe too intimate for this correspondence?]
You were talking about the people running for congress.  But then you said one of them was “freaking amazing.”  And I don’t think news people are supposed to say things like that.  And isn’t that biased?  News people aren’t supposed to be biased.  I know this because Mr. Grimm, my English teacher, made us watch this video about newswriting.  Though no one else knows this about me, Rachel Maddow, I have a photographic memory for stuff people say.  Their words just stick in my brain.  So I remember what a reporter is supposed to be. [You are right, Brynn!  I didn’t know that about you.  Shouldn’t you remember your assignments, then?]
Anyway, thanks for pissing off my Mom. [There is a list of questions I asked you to include.  Maybe you could end with that instead.]
Sincerely,
Brynn Harper
Folder:  Sent
Date:  September 12
Subject:  School Assignment Again

Dear Rachel Maddow,
                I learned an important lesson about rough drafts.  If you really want to send someone a letter, you should just send it.  Do not turn it in to your English teacher first.  But Mr. Grimm (said English teacher) is the only person I know who doesn’t think I’m hopeless, so I am trying this again for his sake.  Though I’m sending it to you too, to avoid further editing. 
                My name is Brynn Harper and I am sixteen years old.  I live with my mother and stepfather in Westing, Pennsylvania.  I have a brother, too.  Or, I had one, anyway.
                I first watched your show a couple of times in high school because my best friend (well, okay, my girlfriend) loved you, so she kind of dragged me along with her.  She’s not my girlfriend anymore.  And she said she didn’t have time to watch television anymore either, even for you.  So she dumped us both.  That gives us something in common.
                I had a list of questions that I was supposed to ask you, but I got most of the answers online already.  Mr. Grimm suggested I think of new ones.  So here you go:
1.      When you look at the papers on your desk and circle something, are you really reading from them?  Don’t you read from a teleprompter?  When you go to commercial, you shuffle those papers, too.  Seriously, is there anything even written on them?
2.      How much does a person have to know to be considered a “wonk?”
3.      At least one person laughs in the background while you are talking.  Is this on purpose?  Who is that? 
4.      Why don’t you run for political office?
5.      Is there ever a staff meeting when you think to yourself, “Huh, there really isn’t a lot going on in the news today.”
6.      How many pairs of shoes do you actually own?


About Adrienne: 


I have lived my entire “adult” life in a college dormitory working in both Residence Life and college chaplaincy.  I like the term "dormitory" better than "residence hall."  I went to school for a long time so that now I get to swoop around in a fancy robe and silly hat (like at Hogwarts).  I have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts (a place like Hogwarts).  I play both the viola and tennis with more heart than skill.  I love my current home in Boston but will always be a Pennsylvanian at heart. 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive an ARC of DEAR RACHEL MADDOW, US Only.


October 17, 2017

Book Review: Bubbles by Abby Cooper

Title: Bubbles
Author: Abby Cooper

Twelve-year-old Sophie Mulvaney's world has been turned upside down. Mom lost her job at the TV station and broke up with Pratik, whom Sophie adored. Her teacher is making them do a special project about risk-taking, so Sophie gets roped into doing a triathlon. And to top it all off, she's started seeing bubbles above people's heads that tell her what these people are thinking. Seeing other people's thoughts seems like it should be cool, but it's actually just stressful. What does it mean that Pratik wishes she and Mom were with him to eat dinner? Is her best friend Kaya really going out with their other best friend, Rafael, whom Sophie also has a crush on? And can Sophie's mom ever go back to her old self? In this funny, heartwarming novel, Sophie comes to learn that people are more than what they seem—or what they think. 



Loved this book!  Wasn't sure I would because sometimes middle grade characters can drive me nuts!  But I really liked Sophie.  She was funny and realistic.  Her fears about her friends ditching her seemed legit (sometimes they don't in MG books).  I could see why she was worried.  And I loved, loved, loved what she learned from the bubbles around her.  It was a great lesson for all middle schoolers to learn - the idea that what people thinking may not be reality because of why they are thinking it.  We need to TALK to people to learn their full story not just bits and pieces we hear or piece together.  If you're looking for a good solid middle grade book that kids could relate to I highly recommend it! 



July 11, 2017

Cover Love: The Dazzling Heights

I love book covers! I love walking around Barnes and Noble just looking at all the different covers.  A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  
It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:

Questions I have when looking at it:

Are these the same towers from the first book?
Who lives there?
Why the birds?
One is black and one gold - why???
What happens there?

About the Book:

New York, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amidst high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

LEDA is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden–even if it means trusting her enemy.

WATT just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When RYLIN wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

AVERY is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him… no matter the cost.

And then there’s CALLIOPE, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York, determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. And in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

June 27, 2017

Cover Love: A Line in the Dark

I love book covers! I love walking around Barnes and Noble just looking at all the different covers.  A good cover will make me pull the book off the shelf!  
It's almost like I have a crush on them :)

Today I'm crushin' on:

Questions I have when looking at it:

What?  Just what??
Is that ink?
Is it a tattoo?
Why is that dripping from her fingers? 
Did she do this or did someone do it to her??

About the Book:


The line between best friend and something more is a line always crossed in the dark.


Jess Wong is Angie Redmond’s best friend. And that’s the most important thing, even if Angie can’t see how Jess truly feels. Being the girl no one quite notices is OK with Jess anyway. While nobody notices her, she’s free to watch everyone else. But when Angie begins to fall for Margot Adams, a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess can see it coming a mile away. Suddenly her powers of observation are more curse than gift.

As Angie drags Jess further into Margot’s circle, Jess discovers more than her friend’s growing crush. Secrets and cruelty lie just beneath the carefree surface of this world of wealth and privilege, and when they come out, Jess knows Angie won’t be able to handle the consequences.

When the inevitable darkness finally descends, Angie will need her best friend.