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Please join us to discuss everything literary (especially kid literary): good books, the writing life, the people and businesses who create books, controversies in book world, what's good to snack on while reading and writing, and anything else bookish. We welcome your thoughts.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Three Little Ladies with Big Dreams, Black History Month Picture Books Worth a Look, by Andrea Perry

I am Rosa Parks
      by Brad Meltzer
      illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

"Always stand up for yourself (even if it means sitting down)" is the simple message from this child-friendly biographical sketch of Rosa Parks.  As a girl who was small for her age and sick a lot, we meet Rosa Parks,  a pivotal figure in the American movement for racial equality.  She speaks from her child's heart about noticing the different water fountains, bathrooms, bus seats and elevators for blacks and whites in her town, even wondering if "colored" water tasted differently than "white" water.  These differences culminated in her not giving up her seat, sitting down for what she believed, starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  The simple language and first person narrative, and the few photographs at the end of the book, will make Rosa come alive to any child who wants to learn who she was.

My Name is Truth      The Life of Sojourner Truth
      by Ann Turner
      illustrated by James Ransome

From "I am Rosa Parks," to "Ain't I a Woman?" another first person narrative speaks in plain language about a black woman from a different time.  Born to slave parents in 1797 and one of twelve children, Isabella was sold into slavery for $100 when she was 9 years old.  She would not let her own children be separated from her and went so far as to hire a lawyer to reunite her with a son sold illegally by the Dumont family, one of many families she worked for.  Isabella reinvented herself as Sojourner, her self-proclaimed name of respect, and traveled throughout New England preaching as God had led her to do.  Sojourner preached the good news of salvation, and the terrible days of slavery.  Though she was famously known for her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech at the 1851 Ohio Women's Rights Convention, we also learn that a woman author, Olive Gilbert, wrote her biography which Sojourner went on to sell at her speaking engagements. 

Mahalia Jackson     Walking with Kings and Queens
      by Nina Nolan
      illustrated by John Holyfield

Mahalia Jackson was also a tiny girl, but one with a big voice.  She was from New Orleans where she loved gospel singing in church, which raised her spirits particularly after her mother died.  Though she had to leave school at a young age to help care for her cousins, and then also went on to work for years as a maid, Mahalia kept singing.  One of her aunts told her one day she would even be singing for kings and queens.  Mahalia never forgot.  She refused to sing in nightclubs, and saved money for singing lessons for years.  She was 25 when she recorded her first gospel record with Decca Records. 
And her aunt was right.  Eventually Mahalia made it to Carnegie Hall, and even sang at the March on Washington when Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

These three black women from humble beginnings all were true to themselves and never stopped believing that what they had to say or sing or sit for was important enough to make a difference.








Monday, February 9, 2015


Welcome!


My Debut Middle Grade Novel Available Now!


by Dawn Malone


This past Friday, February 6, 2015, Marcy and I posted our answers to Dawn's debut novel Bingo Summer. Today, you get to read Dawn’s favorite's. 

Awesome answers, Dawn! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too. 


1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

In Chapter 29, when Summer decides to write her own story for the school newspaper instead of letting her arch rival, Mara, submit her version, Summer experiences a shift in how she confronts obstacles. 

"And then we’d moved here, and I’d decorated my room just like my room in Stanton. I’d tucked the spiral notebook away like the lottery ticket had never happened. I’d pasted the stars on the ceiling, the same posters on the wall, and even moved my new bed facing the same direction it had faced back home. But no matter what I did, this wasn’t Stanton. It never would be. I couldn’t wish on stars anymore."


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

The ending of the first chapter is my favorite. When I first started writing this in 2007, I won an SCBWI Work-in-Progress grant based on this first chapter. With validation like that, I knew I had a chapter to use as a gauge for writing the rest of the book. It challenged me to try to make the subsequent chapters just as intriguing. 

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

J.C. cracks me up. She's full of rambunctious energy, and ornery enough to cause some sisterly conflict between her and Summer, but she's not overtly mean. And of course, at the very basic level, even brothers and sisters who are often at odds with one another will jump to their siblings' defense when that person is threatened by someone else. J.C. shows that loyalty near the end of the book when Summer's competitor on the softball team causes trouble. 

"Where's this Mara Schmara person? Is that her?" J.C. said, pointing at someone getting onto the bus. "I bet I could take her." J.C. jeered over my shoulder before she got in the car. 


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Despite Summer's lack of confidence during much of the book, she feels completely comfortable on the softball field, like in Chapter 31:

"I owned third base. Coach praised me to the moon and back during practices every day. If I bobbled a grounder or took an extra step before I threw to first, he didn’t say anything. It was like he was watching the nightly news and catching the highlights, starring me. Softball ruled." 

Everyone has a gift, which can feed a sense of empowerment. Sadly, some kids never figure out what they have a talent for, or are encouraged to look for it.


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Actually, it's an exchange between Summer, J.C., and their mom, Maggie, after they've landed in the town which Maggie impulsively decides to call their new home. The conversation sums up the family's dynamic; they're closely-knit, a little quirky, and the girls sometimes find themselves in the parental role, taking care of their mom, since she doesn't always make the best choices. 

“This wasn’t what I had in mind,” Mom whispered to us. “Who said money can buy everything?”

“I think that’s ‘money can’t buy everything’,” I said.

“You should slip her a fifty,” offered J.C. 

“Real life doesn’t work like it does on television,” I said. 

“Everyone has a price,” J.C. shot back. 

“Stop it, you two,” Mom said. “Let’s get down to business.”


To read more about Dawn Malone’s debut novel BINGO SUMMER please go to:


Friday, February 6, 2015

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

by Dave Amaditz and 
Marcy Collier


Bingo Summer


Welcome to February’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.

This month we're pleased to highlight debut YA novelist, Dawn Malone and her novel, Bingo Summer. Summer and her mom and sister struggle financially. Each birthday, Summer’s mom splurges on a BINGO lottery ticket. This year, Summer hits the jackpot and her life changes dramatically, but not all for the better.

We can’t wait for you to read this exciting novel!

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave – I chose this particular passage because I believe it is the first time Summer is aware of what she is doing to try to fit in.

I waited for him to tell me what he meant. Ever since school started, I felt like I was trying to slip inside someone else’s skin, and it fit me like a too-tight shirt. Sometimes, I wanted to do whatever it took to have friends, to be popular again like I was in Stanton.

Marcy – Summer is not happy in her new situation. She’s trying to make the best of it, but there are so many obstacles standing in her way. This paragraph demonstrates Summer’s attempt to work through some of her problems. And it’s a fabulous idea!

My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Bertram, once told us to write our troubles down on paper, to make a Worry List, and then get rid of those worries by throwing the list in the garbage. I’d done that before, when Mom and Frank were divorcing and she was too distracted to pay much attention to J.C. and me. I’d felt like I was J.C.’s mom, that my own mom had gone missing. Every day, I came home and listed my worries. Then I tore out the page, crumpled it, and banked the shot off the wall and into the garbage can. Sometimes writing stuff down worked. So I flipped to a new page in the notebook and tore it out. Instead of complaining to Dana, I’d make a Worry List.


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Dave - This particular chapter ending comes from early in the novel. I chose it because when Summer moved it sets the stage for what happens in the rest of the novel.

I thought people who won the lottery had everything they could ever want. But I didn’t feel like a winner. In fact, I felt like the biggest loser of all, watching Stanton disappear in the side view mirror as we headed north to escape our small town that had become smaller still.

Marcy –  Summer is having a rough day. When she arrives home, her situation only gets worse.

All I wanted was my bed, to pull the comforter over my head, and sleep September away.

But there was a pickup truck in the driveway. That meant I couldn’t disappear upstairs. I had expected a Harley, but he changed vehicles as often as people changed underwear. And the crystal horseshoe dangling from his rear view mirror was a dead giveaway. Mom had given it to him shortly after J.C. was born.

Frank was here.

Just perfect.


3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Dave – I choose Dana as my favorite secondary character, although I also had Anna high on my list. Dana stays true to her best friend even after Summer moves and begins to socialize with neighbors and friends who have a lot of money. She’s not worried if she will be accepted or not and she still feels comfortable telling Summer exactly how she feels. Following, is an example.

She shrugged. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but you’re not exactly politician material. Sorry. It’s true,” she said, when she saw me frown. “You get defensive when no one likes your ideas. And you’re kind of grumpy.” She looked pointedly at my frown and smiled. “See? That’s what I mean. Grumpy.”

Marcy –  There are a cast of great characters, but Dink is my favorite above all of the others because of his wit, humor and offbeat personality.

Summer has just delivered a speech because she is running for Student Council. She runs into Dink behind the stage.

“Way to deliver a speech.”

“What are you doing back here?” I turned in circles, looking for something. Anything.

“Working the sound system. Hey, you’re looking pretty green—”

Just then, I barfed into the nearest container, which happened to be a barrel of basketballs. Next to me, Dink nodded and grinned. I came up for air, wiping spit from my lips. Had my lunch not been making a repeat appearance, I would have smacked him.

“The basketball team won’t like that, you know,” he said.

I’d never felt so humiliated. I barely made it away from Dink and into the girl’s bathroom down the hall, before I threw up again.


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

DaveThis particular section depicts a perfect image. Not only does it describe this scene but it highlights personality traits of the character as well.

“Frank found his spot on the couch again, this time lying back and propping his boots on the arm. He chewed on his fingernails and spit the bits onto the front of his shirt.”

Marcy – Great line that describes the situation so well.

Announcing our good luck in front of Mrs. Hennessey was our first mistake. She didn’t mean to cause trouble, but telling Ruth Hennessey that you scored ten million dollars on a lottery ticket and expecting her to keep quiet is like telling a rooster he can’t crow. It’s just not possible.


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

DaveThis particular line of dialogue is spoken by Summer. I think there’s a touch of irony in what she says given the fact that this is advice given to her younger sister, yet Summer doesn’t apply it to herself when she moves to Dorrance.

“Friends aren’t something you can just whip up like a batch of cookies, you know. Dana and I were friends since kindergarten. Good friends take time.”

Marcy –  J.C. is Summer’s little sister. She is an ornery, funny person and has no objection to moving into a new house in a nicer area after they hit the jackpot.

“I’m going to have a ton of friends here, and I’m not going to be a granny by the time I make them either.”


To read more about Dawn Malone’s debut novel BINGO SUMMER please go to:


Friday, January 30, 2015

Meet Kenn Nesbitt, U.S. Children's Poet Laureate introduced by Andrea Perry


In the spring of 2016 I will be one of a number of featured children's authors in a collection of poems entitled, ONE MINUTE TILL BEDTIME.  This project was the brainchild of Kenn Nesbitt, the current U.S. Children's Poet Laureate.  Until I was contacted last year to submit work for his collection, I had no idea such a position existed.  Recently I was able to pose a series of questions to Kenn about his title and duties which I would like to share.

How did the Children's Poet Laureate position come to be, and what organization nominates or selects candidates?   Do you have any input regarding future candidates? May I ask if you receive any salary for the time that you serve?

The Children's Poet Laureate award is given every two years by the Poetry Foundation, an independent literary organization dedicated to promoting poetry in our culture. They established the award in 2006, with the first award going to Jack Prelutsky. Subsequent award winners were Mary Ann Hoberman and J. Patrick Lewis.

I don't actually know how the selection process works. My term will end in June, 2015 when the next Children's Poet Laureate is named at the annual Pegasus Awards ceremony at the Poetry Foundation headquarters in Chicago. They have not asked me for my thoughts on future poets laureate, but it's possible that they might. In any case, I'm sure that I won't be part of the actual selection committee.

I don't receive a salary for my time as CPL, but the award did come with a one-time cash prize of $25,000.

I believe the position is held for two years, but are there specific duties that come with it? I know that you continue to make school visits and are editing a bedtime poetry anthology-what else have you been up to?

Every year, in June, the Poetry Foundation has an award ceremony called the Pegasus Awards. Each year they give the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize to honor a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. Every other year, they appoint a new Children's Poet Laureate.

The duties of the Children's Poet Laureate are to perform two public readings, one during each year of the term, and to select and review a book of children's poetry to highlight on the Poetry Foundation's website. My school visits and books are not part of my duties as Laureate, but are simply how I make my living. Last year, I also created a new website called PoetryMinute.com, as a sort of elementary school equivalent of Poetry 180 (which is aimed at high school students). PoetryMinute has 180 poems, one for each day of the school year, all by contemporary children's poets.
Does anything special happen during National Poetry Month in April because of your position?

No, not really. National Poetry Month was established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets (www.poets.org). The Poetry Foundation is one of the many sponsors of National Poetry Month, but there are not any specific programs involving the Children's Poet Laureate.

What is so special about poetry?

Poetry is a literary art form that can be enjoyed by people of any age. What makes it different from other literary genres is it's ability to evoke emotions in a very short space. Good poetry, in my opinion, should always make you feel something, and it does so in a matter of a few lines, stanzas, or pages. Poetry can entertain, educate, and inspire readers, even with an economy of words. Other literary arts -- short stories, plays, novels, etc. -- can do the same, but in a much longer form.

I could go on and on about the differences but, to me, what I find most compelling about poetry is the way in which it inspires young people to want to read. When a child discovers a book by Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky, they find themselves engaged and enthralled on every single page, which encourages them to continue reading and to seek out more poetry.

Is there anything I've not covered but you'd like to add?

It was the biggest honor of my life to be selected as the Children's Poet Laureate. I had no inkling that this would ever happen, and I was pretty astonished when I got the call from the Poetry Foundation. There is a long list of incredible writers I would have put ahead of myself on the list of candidates, so I'm not just pleased, but genuinely humbled by the recognition. I can't wait to see who they select as my successor this June.



 
      

Monday, January 5, 2015

No Place to Fall

by Jaye Robin Brown


PicturePicture



by Jaye Robin Brown


This past Friday, January 2, 2015, Marcy and I posted our answers to Jaye’s debut novel, No Place to Fall. Today, you get to read Jaye’s favorite's. 

Awesome answers, Jaye! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too. 


1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Though I like both of the passages you mentioned, I really love when Amber is by herself in her room, singing along to the radio, the application to NC School of the Arts hidden under her bed. To me it's this wonderful sort of private moment fraught with maybes and I can'ts, but also the beginning of a maybe I can. Even though it ends on a frustrated note, she's planted the seed inside of herself.

"I sing along as the rain falls out my window. Drops of water gather on the windowpanes like a shimmering audience. I play with my voice, testing out my range, creating new sounds, trying to both imitate the radio singers and be myself. Finally I can't stand it anymore. I roll over and grab the folder.

The list of requirements is long. Transcripts. A long application. Two letters of recommendation, at least one from someone who has been your instructor in your art form. An artist's statement. An audition. The applicant must perform three pieces from the following list. My eyes scan the options. I push the paper back in the folder and shove the whole thing under the bed. I don't even know what half of that music is. I ball the quilt up under my chin and scoot deeper under the sheets. Mama would never have let me go anyway."


2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

My favorite chapter ending is one where Amber arrives home after getting in trouble for something she didn't do at a football game. Her brother-in-law, just released from jail, is drunk in the front yard hoping to see Amber's sister. When Amber finally gets to the door and away from him, her parents are fighting over money and her sister runs straight into Sammy's arms. Amber's starting to realize how messed up her life is, and this passage is her reaction to it. (Coby is her nephew, Giant is the dog)

"The three of us--me, Coby, and tiny Giant--huddle under the blankets, blocking out the sounds from downstairs. I make up a story about a singer who rides a magical bird and performs for kingdoms far and wide. 

As we fly out of the window and up into the night sky, my voice stops working.

Because, honestly, I can't see how I'm going to get out of here."


3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

This is a hard question because I tend to write big casts of characters and Mama, Devon, Will, and C.A. all vie for places in my heart. But I think I'm going to go with C.A. who was actually inspired by a student I taught. She was this perky blonde cheerleader who, in my mixed up bag of an Art 1 class, truly got along with everyone. As C.A. developed in the novel, she became kind of the same way, and I like that about her. She's the kind of girlfriend any girl would be lucky to have.

This passage is at a school college fair, and Amber has been given a folder about the NC School of the Arts high school program. It shows C.A.'s caring, that she'd push her friend into following a dream even if it meant she'd lose her friend to a far-off city in the process.

"I shrug and take the brochure back from Devon, sliding it carefully into the bag. 'My mama would never let me go to a boarding school so far away from here.'

C.A. looks at Devon. 'Can you talk some sense into her?'

Devon glances at me and answers her. 'Mama Vaughn is pretty protective of Amber.'

'So? I bet we can convince her.' C.A. claps her hands. 'I am awesome with mothers.'"


4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

This passage is from chorus when Amber is practicing her audition songs for the group. It's a big growth moment for her as she's gotten over her fear of singing in front of her peers and realizes their reaction is something she'd like to have again and again in her life.

"I close my eyes and my arms lift slightly from my sides. I picture the song swirling inside of me, like butterflies. I draw the notes out. When I release the words, they fly around the room. The chorus is silent, listening, and all I hear is the sound Will and I make. When the final notes of my last 'Maria' land, there's a collective inhale. It's a quiet I wouldn't mind living in for a while."


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

This is a kind of gritty line, but it makes me laugh every time. It's an exchange between Amber and her sister, Whitney, in the car outside of a pawn shop. Amber has withdrawn her entire savings account, all of fifty dollars, to do a favor for a friend and Whitney's questioning her.

"After school, Whitney picks me up. I convince her to take me to the bank and to the pawnshop for Sean.

'So, are you in love with this boy or something?' she asks me.

'Or something,' I answer.

'Does Mama know you're wiping out your savings account?'

'Does Mama know you love Vicodin?' That shuts her up."



Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Dave and Marcy!


Congratulations to Jaye on her young adult novel, No Place to Fall! To read more, go to:

Friday, January 2, 2015

First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day

Picture


by Dave Amaditz and
Marcy Collier

Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to January’s version of - First Friday - Five Favorite Things - Debut Novel Day. In this monthly series, we ask five simple questions about a debut novel that will hopefully entice anyone reading this post to pick up the novel and read it themselves, and/or give them at a glance some insight into the author's writing style and voice as well as how some of the characters might think or act. We do this by presenting, first, answers to our Five Favorite Things, followed by the author's answers in a follow-up post.

This month we're pleased to highlight debut YA novelist, Jaye Robin Brown and her novel, No Place to Fall. Amber dreams of traveling to the big city where she can use her amazing voice to sing and meet new and exciting people. First, though, she must come clean about some trouble she’s found herself involved in, which will hopefully make life better for her and her family.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Dave – I chose this particular passage because when Amber, the main character, sings she feels like she is somebody, like she is free, which brings her closer to her goal of leaving small town Sevenmile.

As Pastor Early prays over me, I feel a simple strength enter through my fingers and my toes. All of these folks, the people of my childhood, are praying for my success. Success that means leaving them. Leaving my mountains. But I’m not like Kush. I won’t be leaving because I hate this place. I just want a bigger life somewhere, and I want to sing.

Marcy – Amber is passionate about singing. This is the first instance where she allows her mind to wander and explore the idea of using her talents outside of her hometown.

“It doesn’t matter. My mama would never let me be in a band. She thinks singing’s only for church and baking.”

“What do you think?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think about it much.” I’m surprised at my own answer. I mean, of course I’ve thought about it. I thought about it Sunday when Sammy asked me to be in his band. I thought about it down by the creek when Basil was talking about American Idol. I think about it all the time

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger? Amber’s life at home has always been filled with love. Even so, she knows her father has been cheating on her mother and she wonders if her mother is aware of what her father is doing or is simply na├»ve. My favorite cliffhanger occurs while Amber is in the mall shopping with her mother.

Mama slowly flips the cap on a bottle. She raises it to her nose, but the lilac smell hits us both quick. The bottle drops from Mama’s fingers. It’s the scent. Daddy’s other woman. Lilac with a hint of vanilla and spice. Mama shoves a handful of bills at the saleslady and grabs the bags.

Marcy –  There is so much turmoil in Amber’s family life. Amber’s sister Whitney became pregnant very young and got married to Sammy who has many faults, including being a drug dealer. This chapter ending is heartfelt and foreshadows events to come.

“I love you, Whit.”

She doesn’t answer, but I can feel her tears as they hit my arm. I hope they’re going to lock her husband up for a good long time.

3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why? This book has so many great characters, all of whom play a pivotal role in the story, all of whom are so believable and so easy for me to relate. If for no other reason than to get to use another great line of dialogue, I chose Devon as my favorite character. He’s Amber’s best friend, someone with whom she has shared for so much of her life almost all of her secrets and desires - - and someone that also happens to be a homosexual, which is key to understanding the following line of dialogue. Amber has just told him she had sex with his brother. His reaction caused me to laugh out loud.

Dave – “Mad? I love my brother. I love you. It’s the closest I can ever come to hooking up with you myself.”

Marcy –  There are so many favorite characters to choose, but Devon’s character hit home for me. He is Amber’s best friend and regardless of her imperfections and the bad choices she makes, he loves her. He remains her best friend throughout the novel and the rock that supports her when she falls. His endless humor and good spirit shines through from the beginning to the end of the novel as demonstrated in the line below.

Devon purses his lips and gives me his best Marilyn Monroe. “All right, darlings, let’s go find us a man.”

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description? The town where Amber lives is near a rest stop on the Appalachian Trail. She likes to go there to meet the hikers passing through and to hear stories of places she only dreams of going. More than that, while she’s high in the mountains it helps her to escape some of the more unpleasant things life has dealt her. These few lines beautifully describe her feelings.

Up there, the air felt clean. I felt free, like it didn’t matter who I was or what I did. I was like a current in the air, flying, swirling, traveling. From up there, this place looked beautiful, but from down here…

Marcy – I adore Amber’s Mama. There’s a scene later in the book where Mama shows off her strong self, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. This offbeat image of how Amber sees her Mama is said so well in a few words.

I wrap my arms around her. People may make fun of fat people, but I like having a squishy mama. She’s comfortable.


5) What is your favorite line of dialogue? This particular line of dialogue comes from about midway through the novel. Her sister, Whitney, is speaking and I think it highlights well why it will be so difficult for Amber to achieve her dream of leaving home.

Dave – “Life. Just. Is. I’ve got Sammy. Daddy’s got Mama, and Mama’s got Daddy. And you, you’ve got a wild dream that’s going to do nothing but disappoint you.”

Marcy – Some of the scenes and exchanges between Amber and Cheerleader Amber are hysterical. I had to share two scenes with the two girls, although there are three girls named Amber in the book!

“You’re a gossip girl,” I say, nudging her with my arm.

“Yes, but I’m one that’s made of out fairy dust and unicorn fur.”

Then another scene when Cheerleader Amber wants to go into Amber’s attic to explore.

“So you’re not afraid of ghosts, but you’re afraid of spiders?”

Amber shuts her car door and follows me. “Girlfriend, have you not been reading all those new paranormal romances in the library? There are some really hot ghosts.” 


To read more about Jaye Robin Brown and her young adult novel, No Place to Fall. go to:

Friday, December 12, 2014

On Santa's Book List: Dystopia and Fantasy and Espionage, Oh My!

What books might the middle-schooler in your life be excited to find under the tree this holiday season?  In speaking to several school librarians and some bookstore folks recently, it appears that The Maze Runner continues to be the hot ticket right now.  Books from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan are often asked for as well.  For those who have not yet read The Hunger Games*, the release of the latest movie has also spurred another spike in requests.  Additionally, The Cherub series by Robert Muchamore for boys (about the under-17 highly specialized Cherub Agents), and the Selection series ("...a cross between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor...") by Keira Cass for girls are popular.  Rounding out the list, the Cassandra Clare Mortal Instruments series, about the secret fantasy world of the Shadowhunters, is also sought after.  For the slightly younger crowd, almost anything Disney "Frozen"-related is flying off the shelves. 

Happy Reading to all, and for all, a good book!


*I must admit that when I read about "The Hunger Pains; A Parody," by The Harvard Lampoon, featuring Kantkiss Neverclean, I had to chuckle.  Not sure if it would be worth reading, but I do love a good parody!


Andrea Perry, December 12, 2014