Saturday, July 16, 2005

Waiting for Harry

Decided not to go to one of the parties last night. After all, I pre-ordered from Amazon so the book should be delivered today. But when? According to the UPS tracker, my book is sitting in a room about 20 minutes from me. It is scheduled to be shipped today so I will get all my chores finished and hope the UPS truck comes sooner rather than later.

I've been reading different articles about the book but haven't found any real spoilers yet. I guess people are still reading the book. I'll keep watching for the UPS truck and clearing my calendar for the next day or so!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Back from Chicago

Wow, I just got back from ALA in Chicago and have so many new books to read. I haven't caught up on my stacks from before I left but I couldn't resist picking up some really interesting ARCs. And I also got to meet many authors and bought copies of their books to have autographed. I think there were more children's authors and illustrators at ALA than usual. I had a great time!

So, now I have lots of summer reading to do. I would love to just spend every day reading. But, I have two manuscripts due at the end of the summer so I guess I should be working on those! Plus I'm teaching a couple of classes this summer and giving a workshop on new children's lit. That is such a fun day.

Now, off to do some more reading.

I am the messenger

Zusak, Markus.
New York : Knopf, 2005
ISBN 037593099X
Meet Ed Kennedy. He's an ordinary kind of guy. He drives a taxi and has no particular goals in life. Neither does his friends. Their lives revolve around mediocre work, playing cards, and soccer. But this is all about to change. Ed is at the bank when an armed gunman comes in to rob it. Now, Ed is not a particularly heroic type of guy but the circumstances of the robbery turn him into one. So, for a few days, his mother is proud of him. But then things go back to normal. At least for awhile. Then the card arrives. It's a playing card. The Ace of Diamonds. Written on the card are addresses and times. What could this possibly mean? As much as he wants to ignore the card, he knows he can't. And now his life is about to take a dramatic turn. As Ed begins to follow the information on the card and change other lives for the better. Some speculate that he is a saint. Or maybe even a fool. All he knows is that he must follow the information on the card. And then more follow.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Perfect Wizard

Yolen, Jane.
New York : Dutton Children's Books, 2004.
IL K-3, RL 4.3
ISBN 0525469559
I just love fairy tales. Some of my favorites are The Princess and the Pea,
the Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina. Do you know who wrote these fairy
tales? None other than Hans Christian Andersen. Do you ever wonder
where authors get their ideas? Are their stories based on things in their
real lives? Author Jane Yolen tells us about Andersen's life and shows us
how his work reflects the things that happened to him.

Runny Babbit

Silverstein, Shel.
New York : HarperCollins, 2005.
IL 3-6, RL 2.8
ISBN 0060284048
Meet Runny Babbit. He has lots of friends like Toe Jurtle, Skertie Gunk,
Rirty Dat, Dungry Hog, Snerry Jake, and many othersd who speak a
topsy-turvy language all their own.

"Runny got the picken chox
And had to bay in sted,
With sped rots on his belly
And sped rots on his head.

His friends all gave him sicken choup,
Bumgalls and bicorice lends,
And guess what little Runny Babbitt
Fave to all his griends!"

Eyes of the Emperor

Salisbury, Graham.
New York : Wendy Lamb Books, 2005.
ISBN 0385908741
Eddy felt duty-bound. His friends had already enlisted in the army and it
was just a matter of time before he was drafted. Sure, he was only 16 but
with a little careful alterations, his birth certificate now proclaimed he was
18 and old enough to enlist. Army life started out as drills and orders but
that was all about to change. When the bombs started falling around his
island, he just couldn't believe that it was the Japanese who were bombing
Pearl Harbor. His dad was from Japan and always wanted to send Eddy
back to attend college. But in a few short hours, lives and dreams were
shattered. How could Japan attack their new country? And now Eddie,
along with the other Japanese American soldiers, were the enemy too. Sent
to an island off the coast of Mississippi, Eddy and his friends were now
being used in a top secret training mission. Even though this is a work of
fiction, it is based on real events that happened during World War II. You
may be very surprised to find out what Eddy's mission was.

The Boyfriend List

Lockhart, E.
New York : Delecorte, 2005.
ISBN 0385902387
1. Adam (but he doesn't count.)
2. Finn (but people just thought so.)
3. Hutch (but I'd rather not think about it.)
4. Gideon (but it was just from afar.)
5. Ben (but he doesn't know.)
6. Tommy (but it was impossible.)
7. Chase (but it was all in his mind.)
8. Sky (but he had someone else.)
9. Michael (but I so didn't want to.)
10. Angelo (but it was just one date.)
11. Shiv (but it was just one kiss.)
12. Billy (but he didn't call.)
13. Jackson (yes, okay, he was my boyfriend. Don't ask me any more about
14. Noel (but it was all a mistake.)
15. Cabbie (but I'm undecided.)

As Ruby Oliver goes through her list with her shrink, can she really come to
understand what has gone wrong with her life? And why she is having panic

Who Am I Without HIm

Flake, Sharon.
New York : Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books for Children, 2004.
ISBN 0786806931
Who am I without him? Growing up black and poor and trying to figure it all out isn't easy. This collection of short stories is funny and anguished at the same time. Meet Erika who likes only white boys. And E who is too poor to have nice clothes and tries to find a way to impress the rich girl in his class. And Raheem who knows he can treat his girlfriend badly but she will always be there for him. And Cheryl who wants to date her best friend's guy. They are all here. And they all have a powerful story to tell.

Grandma's General Store

Carter, Dorothy.
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
IL 3-6, RL 3.6
ISBN 0374327661
Life in the 1930s is not easy. Work is scarce and money even scarcer.
After he loses his job at the sawmill, Daddy sees no future for the family in
the small Florida home. He must go elsewher to find a way to support his
family. When he and mama set off for Philadelphia to find work, five year
old Pearl and seven year old Prince are left in the care of Grandma. She
owns a small store that serves as a community meeting place for the black
inhabitants of this small town. We learn of the segregation of the town and
even meet a few of the Klansmen. But through it all, Grandma's store serves
as a safe harbor for Pearl and Prince.

Last Universe by William Sleator

Sleator, William. THE LAST UNIVERSE
New York : Amulet Books, 2005.
ISBN 0810958589
Susan was beginning to feel a bit hesitant about going out into the garden.
Something was happening that wasn't quite right. But her desperately ill
older brother took comfort in the garden and it was Susan's job to take him
for walks in the sun. But this garden was changing. There were flowers
growing that should never grow in this part of the world. And the paths
seem to shift from where they normally went. Susan and Gary came to
realize that this had something to do with their great uncle who was a
quantum physicist. And this was a quantum garden. Don't know what that
is? Come on in to find out. Things are just not what they seem to be.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

April update loaded

The April update to Booktalks -- Quick and Simple has been loaded. I don't have it indexed yet but I will get to it soon. I'm giving a workshop next week so need to get that ready first! This is the time of year that I'm getting lots of review copies that I can't wait to read but I also have several workshops to prepare for. Ah, life. Don't you just love Spring??

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Click Here (To Find Out How I Survived the Seventh Grade

Vega, Denise.
Meet Erin. Going into 7th grade and finding out her best friend will not be in the same classes. Erin and Jilly have been best friends since Kindergarten and Erin has never really had to faced any situation without Jilly's input. Erin begins to keep an electronic blog to write down her feelings. Of course, she will not publish it. She just keeps it on disk and shares her most secret thoughts. But 7th grade doesn't turn out so bad after a rough start. Erin makes new friends and gets involved in the school's new Intranet Club. She finds that people even come to her with problems when it comes to computer code. But the boy she likes choses Jilly over her and things start going wrong. Through a series of errors, Erin's life is about to get a whole lot worse.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Shadows of Ghadames


Life at the end of the nineteenth century Libya is one of separation of the sexes. Malika is on the verge of adolescence and she begins to see how things are changing for her and her brother. While she is restricted more and more to the home, her brother is now banned from sharing the women's space and must now work with his uncle.
The childhood play is over. This is a world that may seem very strange to us in the 21st century but it is a world that makes sense to Malika's mother. But the arrival of a wounded young man makes Malika begin to question her limited opportunities.

B for Buster

Lawrence, Iain. B FOR BUSTER
For 16 year old Kak, joining the air force was a good way to escape his abusive father. He had dreams of flying and being a hero in the war. Stationed in England in 1943, Kak soon found himself flying ops over enemy territory. But it was not as exciting as he had believed. It was down right terrifying. He didn't know how he could go on flying. Surely no one else was as frightened as he was. But then he met an unusual man. Bert was the keeper of the
homing pigeons that were used to send messages back to base from the airplanes that went on the missions. Bert seemed to understand what Kak was feeling and was a source of strength for him. Join Kak as he learns that war is not all he had imagined it to be.

Bollywood Babes

Dhami, Narinder.
The Dhillon sisters are back with a new adventure. Forced to participate in endless school fundraisers due to the alleged indescretion of the principal, the girls are excited to help with the latest idea. The school is hosting a Bollywood party. Both Auntie and Mr. Arora are working on the planning. But the girls get a great idea. They have found out that Molly Mahal is living nearby. She was big in the 1980s but hasn't done any Bollywood films in a long time. But the girls can't help but think what a big draw a real Bollywood start would be. So off they go in search of Molly Mahal. What they find is not at all what they expected. Actually, nothing goes as expected.

I'm a grandmother again!

My daughter just had her second baby. I am so thrilled! It's another boy -- and another red head. Now she has two little red headed boys! His name is Jordan Everett and his big brother Aiden is not too sure about it but he'll adjust.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

New book is out!

My newest book has just been published! Using literature in the middle school classroom is published by Linworth and came out this past week. I hope you will check it out and let me know what you think!

March update uploaded

I have uploaded the March update to Booktalks. I haven't indexed it yet but that is coming. I've been working on the manuscript for my new book and that has taken most of my extra time. Now the manuscript is just about finished so I should have time to do other things -- like read!! I have hundreds of books waiting for me to read and it has been hard letting them lie there are I spent hours on the new book. But with the help of a few snow days, I've done what needed to be done and have time to get to those new books!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Tiger by Jeff Stone

Stone, Jeffrey S.
New York : Random, 2005.
IL 5-8
ISBN 0375830715
Set in 17th century China, the first of the Five Ancestors series follows five young monks who are schooled in various forms of kung fu. The young monks live at the Cangzhen Temple with thier revered Grandmaster who has taught them the animal kung fu. But a former student has left the temple and vowed to kill the Grandmaster. When Ying returns, the Grandmaster successfully protects the brothers but the temple is destroyed and valuable scrolls are stolen. Young Fu, a twelve year old monk who has mastered tiger kung fu is separated from his brothers but will do anything to retrieve the scrolls and extract revenge on Ying.

Girls in pants

Brashares, Ann.
New York : Delacorte, 2005.
ISBN 0385909195
This is the last summer before the Septembers are off to college. And they want to make it a great one. In the Fall, they will be heading off to Brown, NYU, RISD and Williams. They'll be close but not close enough to see each other a lot. So for the summer, Bridget is off to be a counselor at soccer camp. Tibby is working in a movie theatre. Of course, Lena will do anything rather than work in the restaurant. And Carmen has taken the unlikely job of taking care of Lena's Greek grandmother. But they make a plan to have one weekend at the beach at the end of the summer just for the girls. The summer brings change to each of the girls but what this means for each of the girls is very different.

Tumble Books

This past month I have been working with Tumble Readables to create quizzes for many of the Orca Soundings books. This has been a double treat for me. First, I read many of the Orca Soundings books. If you haven't read of these, I would recommend them. They are geared to reluctant high school readers. They each have a powerful story but told in a quick read. I will be posting booktalks for many of them on the site this month. Some are already on the site as I have already posted in the past. And, I would recommend you check out Tumble Books on the web. The URL for the Orca books (and more) is These are full text ebooks that allow the reader to control the size of the type. Great for those kids who have trouble with small type. Check it out.

A Negro League Scrapbook

Weatherford, Carole Boston.
Honesdale, PA : Boyds Mills, 2005
IL 3-6
ISBN 1590780914
Can you imagine what it would be like if you were a fantastic baseball player but weren't allowed to play because of the color of your skin? You'd start your own baseball league, wouldn't you? That's just what the African American players did. In the early 1900s, some of the best players in the game were in the Negro League. Some of the names you may have heard of are Satchel Paige, Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson. They all got their start in the Negro League. Come along and look through this scrapbook of this incredible league.

Molly McGinty has a really good day

Paulsen, Gary.
Molly McGinty is a very organized young lady. Her notebook is the center of her world. She has everything she needs right inside of it. Her homework assignments of course. Her address book. Pertinent information about her friends - phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, pets, siblings. She had her lunch tickets in a special compartment. Emergency money. To-do reminders. You name it, she probably had it in her notebook. But now something is terribly wrong. Her notebook is missing! How will she get through the day? And what a day it is going to be. It is Senior Citizens Day at school and Molly's eccentric grandmother is coming to spend the day. Wow, little does Molly know what an unusual day it will be.

Legend of Buddy Bush

Moses, Shelia P.
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004.
ISBN 0689858396
In 1947 North Carolina, the rules are very different depending on the color of your skin. Twelve-year-old Pattie Mae understands this and longs to move north to Harlem with her brother and sister. She can't wait until she is old enough to leave. She loves her mother and her grandparents but the pull of the north is strong. Uncle Buddy has told her lots about life in Harlem. He spent many years there. So many that he sometimes forgets the rules in the south.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sad week here

I've been trying to do some reading this week but it's been really hard. I found out on Tuesday that my adorable 16 year old cock-a-poo was going to die. Her kidneys had shut down and her cancer had spread. The vet suggested I put her down but I just couldn't make that decision. So I brought her home to die with us nearby. She passed away peacefully on Thursday night so it wasn't a long drawn out death. I am absolutely heartbroken and I've been trying to lose myself in books. But it seems every book I pick up either has a dog who dies or a dog being mistreated or at least a dog in it. Funny how we don't notice those things unless it is really on your mind.

I have been doing some reading though and will be posting some booktalks soon. I just have to get the booktalks written up and posted. I have so many new books to read thanks to ALA in Boston and the publishers sending me their new titles. Everytime I get my "to read" list manageable, it gets added to. Not that I'm complaining!

It's Super Bowl Sunday and everyone around here is going nuts over the Patriots. I'm just counting the days until the Red Sox spring training starts up (11 days!). I just don't get football but I'm a Red Sox fan from way back. Oh well, GO PATS!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

February update is here

Wow, what a busy month. I went to ALA in Boston and I picked up lots of new ARCs. I have so much reading to do. What a chore :-) If only I didn't have to work, I'd have more time to read!!

I have uploaded the February update. Lots of books this month. Some of them are 2005 imprints!

I also posted the Pennsylvania children's choice nominees for 2005. Lots of great books there.

Back to the books -- later.