Monday, December 23, 2013

Cybils Awards and Merry Christmas!

Friday night my fellow middle grade fiction Cybils panelists and I sat down and decided on our final shortlist, the books we recommend to the final round judges to consider for the top award. It was a fun experience and I can't wait until you can all see the list on the Cybils Awards' site in early January. Definitely check it out!

With that said, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I'm going on a blogging break and will be back in January. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Athlete vs. Mathlete

Today I would like to share a book that is great for boys - case in point, one son has read it and the other is almost done.  I think my husband is a little jealous that we are all reading the same book! 

by: W.C. Mack
Bloomsbury Children's Books 2013

From Goodreads:
Owen Evans lights up the scoreboards. His brother, Russell, rocks the school boards. These twin brothers couldn't be more different. They've long kept the peace by going their separate ways, but all that is about to change. The new basketball coach recruits Russell for the seventh grade team and a jealous Owen has to fight to stay in the game. When someone tries to steal Russell's spot as captain of the mathlete team, will the two be able to put aside their differences in order to save his position? Or will they be sidelined?

Not only is this a great book for boys, but it is also good for those who struggle with their identity and who people think they are - whether it be sporty, smart, quiet, popular, etc. The secondary characters and their attitudes seem pretty genuine to the real world and help maintain the sense of realness in the story. This book is also fairly easy to read which makes it good for a wide age range and reluctant readers.

I just found out that this is actually the first book in a series about the Evans twins. The second book is already out and a third is set to be released next spring.  My boys plan on looking for these soon!

I hope you all have a great week and are enjoying this Christmas season. Be sure to take time for family and friends!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book as a judge for the Cybils awards. All opinions are strictly my own.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Reading, Reading, Reading

Thanks for stopping by! Unfortunately I don't have a post for you for today. I've had a basketball-filled weekend and with trying to get Cybils reading done, I'm running out of time! For other great blogs about reading and writing, please check out the links on my right sidebar. Have a great week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Twerp and PiBoIdMo 2013 Winner

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a great weekend! Two items on the agenda today. 

First - I'm a winner!  Yeah!  Once the Cybil reading is done, I desperately need to get back to writing more.  And I have a whole notebook full of ideas to work with.

Secondly - Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

by Mark Goldblatt
Random House Books for Young Readers 2013

From Goodreads:
It's not like I meant for him to get hurt. . . .

Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with humor and heart. This remarkably powerful story will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.

I really enjoyed this book, but I think the name almost gives it a disservice. I honestly thought it would be filled with dumb boy pranks and silly vocabulary, but I was totally mistaken. Twerp is the sometimes nickname of the mc - Julian Twerski. As he writes down his thoughts on his sixth grade year, he begins to fully understand what he "did" to earn the week-long suspension and how to finally come to terms with how to become a better person because of it. I also appreciated that Julian was in gifted classes, but was still portrayed as a normal kid - he's athletic, has a good group of friends and a normal family. So often smart kids are shown as nerds or geeks. Breaking the stereotype is refreshing. A great book and one definitely for boys, although girls might enjoy it too.

So that's it for this week.  Have a good one!