May 31, 2017

Women on Wed: Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World by Rachel Swaby

A few Wednesdays a month I like to feature books that show the strength and diversity of women.  These may be works of fiction or nonfiction.

Today that book is:

Virginia Apgar. Sally Ride. Rachel Carson. These names are etched in history and included here as part of this awe-inspiring collection of profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science. Author Rachel Swaby delves into the minds of thirty-three such women, whose vision, creativity, passion and dedication have helped make important strides in the world of science—who have in fact changed the world.

Middle grade kids will be fascinated by these snapshot profiles of some of history’s most important female scientists. These women have made strides in fields including biology, medicine, astronomy, and technology. In addition, Swaby emphasizes the fact that people aren’t born brilliant scientists. They observe and experiment as kids and as adults, testing ideas again and again, each time learning something new. Kids are sure to come away with a renewed curiosity of the world and the realization that the road to discovery can be positively thrilling.

Just recently I had my 3rd graders do a research project on inventors.  I really struggled finding women for them to research.  It bothered me!  I wish I had looked at this book sooner because there were several I could've added to the list for sure! While reading it I learned about several women I didn't know about.  The two that interested me most were Helen Taussig and Jane Wright.  Taussig worked with cardiac research and Wright with cancer research.  These are two areas I've had personal experience with, so it was fascinating to here the contributions they made!  I also liked how the book was broken into different sections - Technology and Invention, The Earth and Stars, Health and Medicine, and Biology.  It allowed me to turn to areas I was interested in.  

Great book that I plan to share with students! 

May 29, 2017

Two Books to Check Out if You Love Animals

Are you an animal lover?  Do you like true stories about animals?  

If the answer is yes then I have two fantastic books you should check out! 

125 Pet Rescues
This is a collection of hilarious and heartwarming stories of dogs, cats, and all types of pets given a second chance, and the human animal lovers who rescued them.
From the dog who saved her owner from a fire, to the cat that plays the piano, to the cow that thinks it's a dog, discover incredible stories of animals in need who went on to become beloved pets.
These uplifting tales are paired with amazing photos and loads of animal facts. Kids learn all about how to be kind to our animals friends and the importance of being a responsible pet owner. There's tons of furry, fluffy, feathery fun on every page, including tips on how to help save animals in need!

I couldn't get enough of this book!  I love a good animal rescue story, and this is an entire book about them.  It of course has rescue stories of cats and dog, but there are also stories about rescued bunnies, reptiles and goats.  I think my favorite was the story of Nudge who was a stray cat and rescued by a nice man.  Nudge paid the family back by rescuing them from a house fire.  Lucky the pig was a great story as well.  He fell off a truck and was rescued! And lastly the two guinea pigs that were abandoned in traffic!  Wonderful heart-warming stories.  Loved them all! 

Cat Tale: True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with KittensBy: Aline Alexander Newman
We humans love our cats and these surprising true stories will prove our cats love us back! This collection of tales of playfulness, friendship, heroism, and inspiration is sure to touch the soul, tickle the funny bone, and inspire animal lovers everywhere to be the best kitty caretakers and companions they can be. There's Bambi, whose owners taught her to respond to commands in American Sign Language; Millie, who loves exploring the outdoors and goes rock climbing with her owner; Leo, a rescued lion who changed the life of one South African family forever, and more

I love cats.  I grew up with the best cat.  His name was Moses, and he was a big old mouser that also knew how to snuggle.  We shared my saltine crackers all the time.  This book has wonderful stories about strong, independent smart cats and the people who loved them.  I really liked the story of Humphrey.  He was adopted into the house of the Prime Minister of England as a mouser.  Later he was falsely accused of killing four baby robins but everyone rallied to prove he was innocent!  Loved that story!  
If you like cats you have to look into this book.  

There you go - two great books for any animal lover you know - young or old.  

And to end - here is a picture of my sweet pets:

May 25, 2017

Cover Love: Deacon Locke Went to Prom

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:

Who is Deacon Locke?
Why is it a big deal that he goes to the prom?
Why the wood background???
Why the bow tie?  Just for prom or does he wear them more often.
I just LOVE this cover.  So simple! 

About the Book:

Promposals are taking over Deacon Locke’s high school and there is no place left to hide. But even with graduation looming, shy and unusually tall Deacon doesn’t think he can get up the nerve to ask anyone to the dance. Especially given all the theatrics.

It isn’t until Deacon confides in his witty and outgoing best friend Jean that he realizes should could be a great person to take. Only problem is Jean isn’t your typical prom date. She’s older. A lot older. And she’s Deacon’s grandmother.

But when Deacon meets Soraya—a girl unlike any other he’s ever met—he fears he has totally squandered his chances of having a prom he’ll never forget. Deacon couldn’t be more wrong. About everything. 

May 24, 2017

My Dream Reading Space

All readers have one - that dream reading space. The place they've created in their minds where they would love to collapse into and read.   

I'm no different!

What would my dream reading space look like???
But there is something about this one I love too:

First it would be tucked in somewhere so I could almost hide from the world and read. 

Maybe something like this:

I like how you could just curl up in these, be tucked away and just read.

But I'm also drawn to this one! 

I love how it also seemed tucked away, but what I think really draws me to it are the windows (LOVE!) and that chair. I could definitely cozy up in that! 

It would need to have lots and lots of pillows! Soft ones like this one.  You can find it here

And book related ones: (check out this one HERE)

And of course a warm cozy blanket! I like how this one seems like something your grandma would make.  So cozy and warm!  "So cozy and warm!  See it HERE and other pieces HERE".

And lastly I'd need a big comfy chair.  Something like one of these.

I want the one below so badly!!!!

I could go on and on with the lamps or wall hangings I've had, but this gives you a taste.

I've made a PINTEREST BOARD for my wishful thinking. Do you have a reading nook wish?

May 23, 2017

Release Day Blitz: The Last Star in Paperback +GIVEAWAY!!!!

Today I am participating in the release blitz and giveaway for The Last Star. 

This is the last book in The 5th Wave series.
If you don't know much about the series below is the summary for each book. And below those is the book trailer for The 5th Wave.
  I showed the trailer to my 7th graders when the book was coming out, and they immediately wanted to read it! 

The 5th Wave
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

The Infinite Sea
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

The Last Star
They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

Book Trailer

Below is a re-run of my original review of The 5th Wave.

I really enjoyed this book! Yes it took a bit at the beginning for the set up - but there was a lot of background you needed to know, so you can understand where the story is at now.  Thankfully much of this was done between action sequences, so that helped a lot.  What I really liked about it was the fact I NEVER knew who I could trust and who I couldn't trust! At one point I like "Oh no I can't trust that dude," but then I'm like "Whoa maybe I can?!".  It went like that a lot.  And even at the end I'm still not 100% sure! Fantastic and frustrating all at the same time.  

Loved the characters.  Cassie is great.  Nice strong girl, but yet still realistic - making mistakes, being stubborn and being human.  What's funny is that the whole time being human is something that can't be completely trusted in this book.  She's the kind of girl I'd like to have with me if I was stuck in a post-apocalyptic world! 

There was one part that drove me a bit nuts and that was the descriptions of Evan.  If I had to hear one more time what his eyes looked like, my eyes would have been permanently rolled! Annoying but minor.  

Can't wait for the next book in the series because I have to know what happens to Cassie and the rest of the cast of characters. 

About Rick Yancey
Rick Yancey ( is the author of the New York Times bestseller The 5th Wave, The Infinite Sea, The Last Star, several adult novels, and the memoir Confessions of a Tax Collector. His first young-adult novel, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp, was a finalist for the Carnegie Medal. In 2010, his novel, The Monstrumologist, received a Michael L. Printz Honor, and the sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. When he isn't writing or thinking about writing or traveling the country talking about writing, Rick is hanging out with his family.

(1) grand prize winner and receive a set of The 5th Wave Collection in paperback, including:

The 5th Wave
The Infinite Sea
The Last Star
(ARV: $32.97)


One (1) of five (5) second place winners to receive The 5th Wave in paperback
 (ARV: $10.99 each).

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on May 23, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 30, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 2, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

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May 22, 2017

Books to Read If You Can't See Hamilton!

Hamilton is huge as most of you know. So huge that it's very hard to get tickets.  So if you can't see the musical, here's some books you could maybe read instead!

First to learn about the man and how he influenced our country.

The Making of American: Alexander Hamilton
by Teri Kanefield

The America that Alexander Hamilton knew was largely agricultural and built on slave labor. He envisioned something else: a multi-racial, urbanized, capitalistic America with a strong central government. He believed that such an America would be a land of opportunity for the poor and the newcomers. But Hamilton’s vision put him at odds with his archrivals who envisioned a pastoral America of small towns, where governments were local, states would control their own destiny, and the federal government would remain small and weak.

The disputes that arose during America’s first decades continued through American history to our present day. Over time, because of the systems Hamilton set up and the ideas he left, his vision won out. Here is the story that epitomizes the American dream—a poor immigrant who made good in America. In the end, Hamilton rose from poverty through his intelligence and ability, and did more to shape our country than any of his contemporaries.

If you want to learn more about who Alexander Hamilton was and how he shaped the United States, this would be a great place to start.  It starts with his childhood and goes on hitting the highlights of his life.  The writing is simple and straightforward, so completely perfect for middle grade and older.  At the end of the book is a timeline of his life, endnotes for each chapter and a list of other places to look for information on Hamilton.  Great book! 

If you want more of a story - a love story!

Alex and Eliza: A Love Story
by Melissa De La Cruz

Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York. 

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. 

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

When I got a copy of this in the mail my daughter - a huge Hamilton fan - tore it out of my hands and claimed it.  She also immediately Snapchatted a pic to her friends.  Let's just say she was excited.  So if you want to know about the relationship between Alexander and Eliza this is one you'll need to check out.  

May 20, 2017

Blog Tour: Review of Lemons by Melissa Savage

I've very excited today to be a part of the blog tour of Lemons by Melissa Savage

About the book

Lemonade Liberty Witt’s mama always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But Lem can’t possibly make lemonade out of her new life in Willow Creek, California—the Bigfoot Capital of the World—where she’s forced to live with a grandfather she’s never met after her mother passes away.

Summer seems to bring Lem lemons upon lemons as she deals with an entire new life without any of the comforts of her old home—and then she meets Tobin Sky.

Eleven years old and the CEO of Bigfoot Detectives Inc., Tobin is the sole Bigfoot investigator for their small town. After he invites Lem to be his assistant for the summer, they set out on an epic adventure to capture the elusive beast on film. But along the way, Lem and Tobin end up discovering more than they ever could have imagined. And Lem realizes that maybe she can make lemonade out of her new life after all.

About the Author
Melissa Savage is a writer and a child and family therapist. Her desire to write purposeful, issue-driven books for young people, coupled with her interest in cryptozoology and the mystery of Bigfoot, inspired her to write Lemons. Melissa lives in Minneapolis. You can follow her on Twitter at @melissadsavage, and visit her at

If you only have a second: Nice mix of cute and thoughtful.  Well done.

If you have a few minutes: At first I was a bit leery of this one because of Lemonade (Lem).  I'm not a fan of characters that are precocious, and it seemed that Lem would be just that.  BUT after a few chapters I realized that she was to a degree, but she was also a young girl that had her life completely shaken up and rattled.  It made me really feel for her and understand some of why she acted why she did.  As the story went along I liked her more and more.  That actually was one of the reasons I ended up really liking the book - watching Lem grow and cope.  I cared about her.

I do have to say, though, the character of Tobin came in a very close second has my favorite character!  Love that kid! How could I not?  He chased Bigfoot! You need to know I'm a fan of Bigfoot tv shows like Finding Bigfoot.  If I knew him in person he would be making me laugh again and again. Oh and making me shake my head!  He was such a wonderful contrast to Lem as well.  His personality was a perfect balance to hers.  

The story of these two was good.  It also had a nice balance of more light-heartedness and tough topics.  I liked that because it allowed me to enjoy the story without it being so heavy.  I could struggle with Lem but also laugh with her.  Well done in that regard.

Side note:  Parts of it kept reminding me of the cartoon Gravity Falls!  My kids got me hooked on it, and there were parts that just made me think of it!  

Best for kids who like: Books with some seriousness but also like topics like Bigfoot or other unknown mysteries like it.

May 19, 2017

Friday in the Library

I am a middle school media specialist - grades 6-8.  Here are some things happening in our media center! 

Today when I was walking around as the students were working I saw this book that a student is reading.  I'd never heard of it before.  It looks great!  
One to look at adding to the stacks!

Edge of Extinction
by Laura Martin

One hundred and fifty years ago, the first dinosaurs were cloned. Soon after, they replaced humans at the top of the food chain. The only way to survive was to move into underground compounds. . . .

Five years ago, Sky Mundy’s father vanished from North Compound without a trace. Now she has just stumbled on a clue that not only suggests his disappearance is just the tip of an even larger mystery, but also points directly to the surface. To find her dad—and possibly even save the world—Sky and her best friend, Shawn, must break out of their underground home and venture topside to a land reclaimed by nature and ruled by dinosaurs.

May 18, 2017

Retro Reads: Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser

In Retro Reads I like to look at some books from the past - long or short past - that I really enjoyed and think need a reminder.

Today's Retro Read:

Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser
During her preschool years, Tara Sullivan lived in terror that something bad would happen to her mother while they were apart. In grade school, she panicked during the practice fire drills. Practice for what?, Tara asked. For the upcoming disaster that was bound to happen?

Then, at the age of 11, it happened. Tara heard the phrase that changed her life: Step on a crack, break your mother's back. Before Tara knew it, she was counting every crack in the sidewalk. Over time, Tara's "quirks" grew and developed: arranging her meals on plates, nonstop prayer rituals, until she developed a new ritual wherin she kissed her fingers and touched doorknobs....

What I Remember:

This was the first book I remember reading that dealt with a mental illness - in this case OCD.  It seemed, at the time, to be a realistic view of what it is like to have OCD.  I also remember that it didn't end in a nice neat little bow with everything resulted.  It was positive, but you knew it was still going to be a struggle.  

Have you read it?? What do you remember? 

May 16, 2017

Cover Love: The Becoming of Noah Shaw

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 they still together?
What does it look like fire going around them?
They don't look happy - are they?  What has happened to make them not happy?

I really liked this series until the last book.  I wasn't thrilled with the last book (I know I'm in the minority with that!), so I'm happy to hear more in the story! 

About the Book

In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

May 11, 2017

New Bookcases For Me and a GIVEAWAY for You!

So I got the best Mother's Day gift.  I got a WALL, yes a WALL of bookcases!!! I've wanted that forever.  

Here's how they look! 

The view from my chair.  It makes me so happy! 

As I was putting all my books on the shelves I came across three books I had doubles of!  So my silliness in book buying is your gain. 

Here are the three books.

 So if you want to enter fill out the Rafflecopter for each book you're interested in.  

US Residents Only
Must be at least 13

The Serpent King

The Truth Witch

Salt to the Sea

May 5, 2017

Blog Tour and Guest Post: Oh Susannah: It's In the Bag by Carole P. Roman +GIVEAWAY

Today I'm welcoming Carole P. Roman to the blog.  She has a wonderful guest post for us about handling bad days.  Plus there is a great giveaway!

About the Book:

Written by Carole P. Roman
Illustrated by Mateya Arkova

From award-winning author Carole P. Roman comes a new chapter book featuring Susannah Logan, a young student having a very bad day. It all begins with homework trouble and an invitation to a sleepover that she doesn’t want to go to. Would you want to go to a sleepover in a creepy house? Rather than dealing with her problems, Susannah stuffs them into her backpack. But how much can a backpack take? Will she be able to confront her worries before the backpack bursts? Or will she just continue to hide them away? Join Susannah and her friends in this story sure to charm busy young readers everywhere.

Ages 7-10 | Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform | April 3, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1543034615

Available Here:
Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate’s Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, IAN Award, Moonbeam Award 2014, National Indie Excellence Award Finalist, Shelf Media Outstanding Series Award, ForeWord Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader’s Views Children’s Book of the Year 2013. Roman is also the author of the award-winning non-fiction culture series, If You Were Me and Lived in… that explores customs and cultures around the world. She has co-authored a self help book, Navigating Indieworld: A Beginners Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing. She lives on Long Island with her husband and near her children and grandchildren.


Now I welcome Carole to The OWL!

Topic: How do you handle a bad day?

I never really have a bad day, per say. My day is long, much like my main character in Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag. It begins at the crack of dawn at about five-thirty in the morning. I go straight to a breakfast meeting with the division managers of each of the departments in our company, while my character, Susannah goes to school. Either way, both of our days are packed with potential landmines. I am reminded of a commercial that used to be on television where a woman is being fortified for her chaotic day by drinking orange juice.  Both Susannah and I could use a big glass of that juice.

When I arrive at work, people from other states are listening in on the phone and my husband and I are bombarded with problems that range from losing a large account or a serious breach of protocols with complicated repercussions. We run a company that services high-powered people with unrealistic expectations. The clients used to be able to ruin my day with hysterics and threats to grind us into dust. There is pressure. I have a lot of people depending on me to make the right decisions and sometimes it is an awesome responsibility. It used to lay heavy on my shoulders. Not anymore.

I suffered a heart attack at the ripe old age of forty after one client harassed our company over something that I’m sure she doesn’t even remember today. It was a horrible experience. I almost died. I ended up having an angioplasty. I watched my parents unravel, my kids could barely speak, my husband had to shoulder everything alone. That was the day I learned to put things into perspective. 

Those awful days do weigh heavy in my memory, like a scar that won’t heal. They are a reminder to never forget what is really important.

Susannah, the character in my book, and her family are letting life lead them instead of the other way around. They are caught up in the stress and pressure of always performing perfectly, never sharing when it becomes overwhelming as though it would somehow make them seem not up to the task.

I wrote this book watching other mothers and fathers drive themselves crazy to prove they could do it all, never realizing they were setting impossible standards for their children. What’s it all for if you are not here to enjoy it?

I learned from my own crisis, that every situation is fixable and when it’s not, we must sometimes endure the unendurable. While time slows to a crawl, and things do feel overwhelming, I know there is light at the end of the tunnel. I take a deep breath and concentrate on finishing what can be done.

There may be twenty-four hours to a day. That time is made up of 1440 minutes. I concentrate on what I can fix, and accept the limitations of what I can’t fix.

Talking about it always helps, hearing that you have done everything possible to prevent the disaster or, sometimes, even admitting that your own mistake caused it, can be therapeutic. It makes you realize life is fluid, whatever is going on won’t last forever, and in my own Pollyanna brain, I think, maybe something good will come out of it.

When the parents in this story realize their child’s life is spinning out of control, they help her learn how to reel it back in. They never expect Susannah will return the favor by making them sit back to think about what was pushing her there.

When life gets bad, I think back to that scene in Gone with the Wind, when Scarlett’s world is falling apart. She looks out into the burning sunset and says, “Tomorrow’s another day.”

Well, she’s right. Tomorrow is another day, and when things look really bleak, there is only one way to go and that is up.

What great thoughts! I couldn't agree more!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

A copy of Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag, autographed by Carole P. Roman
A SunnyLife Havana Lunch Cooler Tote
A SunnyLife Cool Bananas Tumbler

Four (4) winners receive:
A copy of Oh Susannah: It’s in the Bag, autographed by Carole P. Roman

Giveaway open to US and Canadian addresses only.
Prizes and samples provided by Carole P. Roman and The Children’s Book Review.

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Tour hosted by and content provided by: The Children’s Book Review and Carole P. Roman