Monday, April 30, 2012

A 5th Monday Post

A 5th Monday means it has been two weeks since I've posted a Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post. I don't have one to share today, since I've been taking some time over the last couple of weeks to catch up with some of my favorite women's fiction authors. But, I did still want to write a post for you all today. Over the last couple of years I've rediscovered middle grade fiction and that I love it just as much as when I was in the middle grades of school. I'm not ashamed to admit that either! :) I can't wait until I can one day find a book of mine on the middle grade shelves of a bookstore.

But, back to women's fiction, I do have a few favorite authors that I still enjoy reading and sometimes need to relax and catch up with them.  Do any of you have any adult authors you still can't live without?  My absolute favorite is Debbie Macomber. Reading the history of how she was first published and the struggle to get there, actually gave me the boost to take the next step in my writing career. I'm excited for the first book of her new series that comes out this fall. Others I love - Robin Jones Gunn and Karen Kingsbury.

I'm also excited for Calico Joe, John Grisham's new book. I'm guessing that will probably be a summer read. 

I will be back next Monday with a new MMGM, but until then, any other adult authors you can't live without?  Or are middle grade or YA all you need?

And to get your MMGM fix today, check out my favorite links to the right!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Up and Down

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.

Written and Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 2010
Fiction for ages 3-8

Themes: friendship, independence

Opening and brief synopsis:
Once there were two friends…
who always did everything together.

In this sequel to Lost and Found, the boy and his penguin are back. The penguin has decided he wants to fly, and he wants to do it on his own. After many false starts, he thinks he has found a way to fly, but realizes there is a reason penguins’ wings aren’t made for flying and the importance of his friendship with the boy.

Why I like this book:
This is a cute book and the illustrations fit perfectly with the text. The penguin’s adventures in trying to fly are fun and his final try ends in a great sequence when the boy finds the penguin after they had become separated. In a very simple way the book showcases the value of friendship.

The book has an official site with a reading of the book by Jeffers and activity pages  Click here to see Jeffers explain how to draw a penguin.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill.  For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The Humming Room

Today's book recommendation was inspired by one of the favorite books of my childhood, The Secret Garden. A book I definitely want to pull off the shelves and read again. It's been too long!

by: Ellen Potter
Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan (just released - February 28, 2012)

Isn't the cover wonderful?  It is such a great picture summing up the book.

Here's the description from Goodreads:
Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's assistants, Roo discovers the house's hidden room--a garden with a tragic secret.

The unique part of this book was having, along with Roo, the house on Cough Rock Island as a main character. The St. Lawrence River came in as a close second.  The interesting thing about having non-humans as main characters is the amount of description that goes into the story.  Passages of sights, sounds and smells take the place of dialogue, although as the story and characters unfolded and grew towards each other, the dialogue increased. 

I liked the book and how as Roo learned more about her relatives, she came to understand herself and bring her positive qualities to life. She finally found a place that gave her a chance to learn about others and grow, a place she could call home.

Have a great week! For more MMGM recommendations, check out my favorite links to the right.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bawk & Roll Winner

I don't have a Perfect Picture Book Friday selection for today, but I do have the winner of a signed copy of BAWK & ROLL.  The winner is:

Lori Mozdzierz

**tosses confetti**

Congratulations, Lori!  Watch for an email from me.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Guest Post at Write Up My Life

Today I'm the guest blogger at Julie Hedlund's Write Up My Life. Julie is the creator and administrator of the 12x12 in 2012 Challenge.  Stop by and check it out!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Bawk and Roll (and a giveaway!)

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday! I hope this post will be a help to those who love picture books and want to share them with their own children or those they teach.

Today’s PPBF is very special, as it is part of the BAWK & ROLL WORLD TOUR! I was so excited when Tammi Sauer asked me to be part of the tour, as she is one of my favorite picture book authors. Thanks, Tammi! As the last stop, we’re ending with a squawk! Tammi has generously offered to give one lucky follower of mine a signed copy of BAWK & ROLL. More on that later!

Written by: Tammi Sauer and Illustrated by: Dan Santat

Sterling Children’s Books, 2012
Fiction for ages 3 and up

Themes: friendship, humor, animals

Opening and brief synopsis:
Marge and Lola leaned out the tour bus window.
“We’ll miss you!” they called.
Their barnyard buddies waved.
“Good luck on your tour! Write to us!”
“We love you, chickens!”
Elvis lowered his shades.
“C’mon, chicks. Let’s roll.”

Marge and Lola hit the road with Elvis Poultry and soon discover the tour gives them stage fright. They try all sorts of things to cure it, but nothing works. Can Marge and Lola prove that chickens bawk and roll? (from Tammi’s website)

Why I like this book:
As the sequel to CHICKEN DANCE, the book continues right where the first left off, including the humor and barnyard jokes. As an adult I love the Elvis and rock and roll humor, while my youngest son loves the animals and their silly antics. It has something for everyone!

Check out for fun ideas and downloads.

Have your kids put on a talent show, even if it is for their favorite stuffed animals or dolls, which could teach them about being in front of others and how to overcome stage fright if they are nervous.

Be sure to check out Tammi's website for much more fun.

Perfect Picture Book Friday is a wonderful idea started by Susanna Leonard Hill.  For other “Just Right” books, visit her blog.

Now for the giveaway! To enter, you must be a follower of my blog AND leave a comment on this post by next Thursday, April 12, at noon EST.  U.S. entries only.

In case you missed any of the previous stops of the World Tour this past week, check out the following links and for those with Twitter follow the King of Bawk and Roll at @elvispoultry.

April 2-6 Rob Sanders: Picture This!

April 3 Julie Danielson: Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

April 4 Jennifer Bertman: From the Mixed-Up Files of Jennifer Bertman

April 4 Kristen Remenar: Author, Librarian, National Speaker

April 5 Julie Hedlund: Write Up My Life

April 6 Jennifer Rumberger: Children's Author

Easter blessings! Have a great week!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Love, Aubrey

It's April and I'm glad to be back sharing Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with you!  This week I want to share a wonderful book that was recommended to me by a sixth grade girl that I know. She said it was one of the best books she has read, and I can't say I blame her. So without further adieu~

by: Suzanne LaFleur
original copyright 2009 by Random House Children's Books

First from Goodreads:
A tragic accident has turned eleven-year-old Aubrey’s world upside down. Starting a new life all alone, Aubrey has everything she thinks she needs: SpaghettiOs and Sammy, her new pet fish. She cannot talk about what happened to her. Writing letters is the only thing that feels right to Aubrey, even if no one ever reads them.

With the aid of her loving grandmother and new friends, Aubrey learns that she is not alone, and gradually, she finds the words to express feelings that once seemed impossible to describe. The healing powers of friendship, love, and memory help Aubrey take her first steps toward the future.

Readers will care for Aubrey from page one and will watch her grow until the very end, when she has to make one of the biggest decisions of her life.

This is one of the most emotional books I've read in a while. The reader follows Aubrey from when she discovers her emotionally distraught mom has left her after a car accident killed her dad and little sister, to the end of the book where the time comes to discover whether Aubrey has learned to deal with the upheaval she has suffered through.  This journey she takes is very real and thought provoking. I think it really shows middle grade readers (and even adults) how they can process the really bad times in life.

I also loved the "letters" Aubrey writes, first to her sister's imaginary friend, then later to various family members.  They show the therapeutic advantages of writing and journaling, even when no one reads the letters.

I hope you will all find a chance to read LOVE, AUBREY yourselves!

For other MMGM love, check out my favorite links to the right.  Have a great week!