Monday, October 6, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday Mash-up: Laura Ingalls Wilder and Frank Einstein

For today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, I would like to share two brand new books. One I had to read as soon as it was released and the other is the first in a new middle grade series that my son enjoyed.

LITTLE AUTHOR IN THE BIG WOODS - A Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder
by: Yona Zeldis McDonough with illustrations by Jennifer Thermes
Christy Ottaviano Books 2014

From Goodreads:
Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don’t always realize is that Wilder’s books are autobiographical. This narrative biography describes more of the details of the young Laura’s real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. This biography, complete with charming illustrations, points out the differences between the fictional series as well as the many similarities. It’s a fascinating story of a much-celebrated writer.

What can I say? This is a wonderful companion to the "Little House" books and can even serve as a great introduction to the entire series. I definitely recommend!

by: John Scieszka with illustrations by Brian Biggs
Amulet Books 2014

From Goodreads:
Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor . . . until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan! Using real science, Jon Scieszka has created a unique world of adventure and science fiction—an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers.

My nine-year-old enjoyed the first book in this new series and is looking forward to the next book coming out in early 2015. He enjoyed the robot characters and all the action. Definitely sounds like a fun book for boys!

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you have a great week!

Monday, September 22, 2014

SCBWI - Michigan Fall Conference

Hi everyone! Sorry I don't have any books to share today. I spent the weekend on Mackinac Island for the SCBWI -Michigan's fall conference. It was such an inspiring weekend catching up with friends, getting to know friends better and making brand new friends. And that was just with the attendees! I also was able to chat with editors Christy Ottaviano and Arthur Levine who are both so smart and funny and so gracious to spend their weekend with us away from their families. Authors Candace Fleming and Laurie Keller were amazing to listen to and illustrator/author Eric Rohmann is just so talented. (Since I'm not an illustrator, I didn't end up in any of his breakouts.) I also attended agent Jodell Sadler's intensive on Pacing and it was chock full of so much good writing advice.

Thank you for stopping by and I will see you next week!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Nest

Welcome! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is a brand new book by debut author, Esther Ehrlich. I was able to read an arc from the publisher on NetGalley for my honest opinion. All thoughts in the post are my own.

by: Esther Ehrlich
Wendy Lamb Books 2014

From Goodreads:
For fans of Jennifer Holm (Penny from Heaven, Turtle in Paradise), a heartfelt and unforgettable middle-grade novel about an irresistible girl and her family, tragic change, and the healing power of love and friendship. 

In 1972 home is a cozy nest on Cape Cod for eleven-year-old Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein, her older sister, Rachel; her psychiatrist father; and her dancer mother. But then Chirp’s mom develops symptoms of a serious disease, and everything changes.

Chirp finds comfort in watching her beloved wild birds. She also finds a true friend in Joey, the mysterious boy who lives across the street. Together they create their own private world and come up with the perfect plan: Escape. Adventure. Discovery.

Nest is Esther Ehrlich’s stunning debut novel. Her lyrical writing is honest, humorous, and deeply affecting. Chirp and Joey will steal your heart. Long after you finish Nest, the spirit of Chirp and her loving family will stay with you.

What an amazing book! The more I read middle grade, the more I realize that I love realistic fiction, whether it be contemporary or historical, that has an MC and his/her family dealing with situations that could occur to anyone. In the case of NEST, Chirp is a fun, dancing, smiling girl who loves bird-watching and living along the ocean. But as Chirp’s mom’s medical condition deteriorates, she experiences emotions and situations that would be hard for any 11-year-old to deal with. At this point, she begins her friendship with Joey, the boy who lives across the street. Seeing the bond grow between these two, neither of whom has an ideal family life, was enjoyable and heart-wrenching at the same time. Yes, I will agree that this book contains some heavy topics, but nothing that middle graders shouldn’t be able to handle and process. As a debut book, I’m very impressed and hope that Chirp and Joey’s story might continue in a second book.

For those of you who have reached my post today, Sunday, I purposely posted early to give you a chance to win an arc of NEST from my friend, Barbara Watson. If you are on Twitter, here is Barbara's tweet with the details. Her giveaway runs through tonight (9/14) 8pm CST. Good luck and thanks for stopping by today. Have a great week!