Monday, February 24, 2014

It's a Picture Book Day!

I know I'm a little late in posting today, but better late than never! :) Today I'm taking a post to share three fun picture books that I've read recently. I hope you will all check them out!

SOPHIE'S SQUASH

by: Pat Zietlow Miller and Anne Wilsdorf
Schwartz & Wade Books 2013

From the jacket flap:
Sophie and Bernice.
Bernice and Sophie.
The two go everywhere together: to story time at the library, to visit friends at the farmers' market, to practice somersaults in the garden.
The only problem? Bernice is a squash.

I LOVE this book! And I love how the "death" of the squash was handled for the young children who would read this book. A delightful debut for Pat Zietlow Miller.


BOOT & SHOE
by: Marla Frazee
Beach Lane Books 2012

Boot and Shoe were born in the same litter and do many things together, but Boot is a back porch kind of dog and Shoe is a front porch kind of dog. Everything is fine until a squirrel decides to cause some trouble.

What a fun book! The repetition throughout the story makes for a fun read-aloud. Kids will also love the closeness of Boot and Shoe and are given a great example of the true meaning of friendship.


A HOME FOR BIRD
by: Philip C. Stead
A Neal Porter Book - Roaring Book Press 2012

From the jacket flap:
While out foraging for interesting things, Vernon the toad finds a new friend - a small blue bird who is curiously silent. Vernon shows Bird the river and the forest and some of his other favorite things, but Bird says nothing. Vernon introduces Bird to his friends, Skunk and Porcupine, but Bird still says nothing. "Bird is shy," says Vernon, "but also a very good listener." Vernon worries that Bird is silent because he misses his home, so the two set off on a journey to help find a home for Bird.

The best part about this book is the surprise ending. Kids will love it and on multiple readings will love seeing the pictures knowing how everything turns out. 

Thanks for stopping by today. I will be back next week with another great middle grade!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Serafina's Promise

Today's book is a wonderful novel in verse that was on our shortlist for the Cybils. Speaking of which, did you see who won for middle grade fiction? ULTRA by David Carroll! Congrats to David! See my post on ULTRA here.

SERAFINA'S PROMISE
by Ann E. Burg
Scholastic Press 2013

From Goodreads:
Serafina has
a secret dream.

She wants to go to school
and become a doctor
with her best friend, Julie Marie.

But in their rural village
outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti,
many obstacles
stand in Serafina’s way--
little money,
never-ending chores,
and Manman’s worries.

More powerful even
than all of these
are the heavy rains
and the shaking earth
that test Serafina’s resolve
in ways she never dreamed.

At once heartbreaking and hopeful,
this exquisitely crafted story
will leave a lasting impression
on your heart.


It takes a special reader to enjoy a novel in verse, one who loves poetry and the lyrical sound of the language of the story. Serafina's Promise has an underlying strength that helps capture the strength and spirit of Serafina herself. Her sense of family and country along with following her dreams makes her a true heroine, even before the other disasters she must face, including flooding and earthquakes and death. How she perseveres living in the poverty and sorrow she faces is truly remarkable. It is a beautiful book. One that I hope many middle graders will read some day.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a judge for the Cybils. All opinions are my own.

I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Writing and reading

I don't have a book to share today with you, as I've been busy with writing and revising one of my manuscripts. But, I plan to be back next week with a great book to share.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - Ultra

Hi everyone! Sorry I wasn't able to post last week, but I'm back today with another book from the middle grade Cybils shortlist.

ULTRA
by: David Carroll
Scholastic Canada 2013

From Goodreads:
A young ultra-marathon runner is pushed to the breaking point and beyond in this gripping tale of physical endurance and emotional healing.

Quinn has been called a superhero and a freak of nature. At age 13, he's an amazing distance runner. He takes on the second-hardest challenge of his life when he enters his first ultramarathon: a grueling 100-mile, 24-hour-long race that will push him to the very limit of his endurance.

While Quinn struggles to go on — up a mountain and through the night, as his muscles break down and he begins to hallucinate — we learn why the ultra-marathon is only the second hardest thing he has endured in his young life. And maybe this devastating event from his past is exactly what Quinn has been running from . . .

Even if you don't like running, you will love this book. Quinn's body is built for running and he enters his first ultra-marathon, a 100 mile 24-hour race - a race his dad has run in the past. Not only does the race test Quinn physically, but it is even more challenging mentally. My favorite quote from the book is by Kern - a runner Quinn meets while running. Kern states, "They don't know if they're running to something, or running from something." Quinn replies that maybe people just run to run. Kern then says, "Then they're blessed." Quinn doesn't reply, but this conversation replays in his head again and ultimately helps him deal with whether to finish the race and make some sense of a terrible situation he hasn't come to terms with yet in his young life. All in all a great book for the older middle grade set. (My middle-grader loved it!)

Thanks for stopping by! See you next week!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher as a judge for the Cybils awards. All opinions are my own.