Posted in Fiction, Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Club Roll Call: Where Middle School is the Dungeon

Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeon Club: Roll Call, Molly Knox Ostertag/Illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, (Nov. 2022, HarperAlley), $19.99, ISBN: 9780063039247

Ages 8-12

This graphic novel is just what I needed to booktalk D&D to my Corona Kids! Combining D&D fantasy roleplaying with fantasy storytelling, Roll Call is the first in a new series, written by the amazing Molly Knox Ostertag and illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, who illustrates the 5 Worlds series – another series I can’t keep on my shelves. Olivia and Jess are best friends who make up incredible stories: it’s how they met on a school playground, and it’s brought them even closer in their 2-person Dungeons & Dragons campaign. They’re heading to middle school, which Olivia is really excited about. Jess? Not so much, especially when Olivia decides to expand their D&D campaign into a full-on school club. Not willing to share her game time and her best friend with anyone, Jess expresses her frustration through the game, and when it affects one of the new members of the club, Jess discovers that sometimes, you need to find room in your heart – and in your dungeon-raiding party – for new friends.

Ostertag’s got storytelling down, effortlessly moving back and forth between fantasy and reality. I’m excited for more backstory as the series develops; Jess is Diné from the Navajo Nation, living with her father, and playing a character named Sir Corius. Olivia is Afro-Latina, sporting hot-pink hair and can effortlessly rattle off character and monster stats, several of which are incorporated into the story; it gives readers a sense of game play. Having story characters create genderfluid, speciesfluid characters is wonderful, inviting readers to see what so many of us have known for a while: you don’t have to conform to any gender in the game. It says so in the Player’s Handbook! Bouma’s vibrant illustration creates personable characters and exciting fantasy settings. The whole story comes together beautifully and is an excellent choice for readers who are interested in gaming, fantasy, and realistic fiction. Display and booktalk these with any of your fantasy roleplaying graphic novels, like 5 Worlds and Dragon Prince; The Witch Boy; Popular MMOs and Dan TDM, and the Dungeon Academy middle grade novel series by Madeline Roux.

 

Posted in Graphic Novels, Middle Grade, Tween Reads

DC Original Graphic Novel Rundown

There’s a new batch of DC original graphic novels coming up, and trust and believe these will be on my shelves (and if my Kiddo has anything to say about it, my home shelves are included).

Shazam! Thundercrack, by Yehudi Mercado, (Feb. 2023, DC Comics), $9.99, ISBN: 9781779505026

Ages 8-12

Yehudi Mercado is the perfect author/illustrator to bring this fun Shazam tale to comic book life. Beginning with Billy Batson’s arrival at his new foster family home and bonding with his new foster brother, Freddy, the main plot kicks in pretty quickly: as Billy and Freddy tests the limits of Billy’s power when he’s Shazam, they realize that even when he’s in Billy’s form, he’s got some power moves – and that leads him to join the school football team. The only thing is, Billy isn’t much of a team player. He just doesn’t have that kind of trust in others, so when the chips are down for the team, why should Billy come through? Maybe because a rival school is using biotech experimentation that makes them very, very dangerous? Maybe because Billy’s foster dad drops some wisdom on Billy? Thundercrack is fun, easy reading that captures the light spirit of the 2019 movie (and the upcoming movie, Fury of the Gods). Mercado is at the top of his game when he’s writing everyday family comedy that balances with a pathos that understands each character’s backstory. Having the story take place within the DCU timeline has a nice link for readers who are versed in the cinematic universe; Freddy is a strong Number 1 to Billy and has his own spirited journey in the story, with vlog entries and commentary running through the story. Add this one to your middle grade graphic novel collections – kids aren’t getting nearly enough Shazam! in their comic book diets.

 

Bruce Wayne: Not Super, by Stuart Gibbs/Illustrated by Berat Pekmezci, (March 2023, DC Comics), $12.99, ISBN: 9781779507679

Ages 8-12

Another middle grade luminary takes the reins for this Bruce Wayne-Before-Batman story. Batman: Not Super is all about Bruce Wayne, who attends a super-special school. No, really, all the students have superpowers except for Bruce, who’s only there because his parents paid for the school to be built before they passed away. He’s rubbing shoulders with superhero elite here, but he’s not the most popular kid in school; he hangs out with an 11-year-old named Dick Grayson, whose gymnastic abilities got him into the school. He’s bullied by Clark Kent, who uses his x-ray vision to see through Bruce’s clothes and tell everyone what underwear he’s wearing that day. Things change when bully Jack Napier steals Dick’s ice cream money, though: Bruce has found his mission, and it’s to be a vigilante! Now, to just figure out how to get around his guardian, Alfred, who won’t let Bruce undertake any dangerous missions. Even when Dick overhears Jack telling Bane that they’re going to rob all the lockers while everyone is at the big game. Fast-paced dialogue and swiftly moving action come together with jokes and humor. Pekmezci’s artwork is a feast for superhero-loving eyes as the DC Middle School Universe unfolds in front of them: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are canoodling by the lockers; Penguin and Selina Kyle are here; Arthur Curry is more AquaKid than Aquaman, but he’s talking to the fish in the school fish tank, and Wonder Girl Donna Troy is Diana Prince’s younger sister. Sharp-eyed comics fans will catch some deep cuts, like Polka Dot Man, and comics fans of a *cough* certain age will appreciate the Bat Shark Repellent joke that finds its way into most Bat-humor. Bruce Wayne: Not Super is another home run for middle graders. Put this one on your shelves.

 

Teen Titans: Robin, by Kami Garcia/Illustrated by Gabriel Picolo, (March 2023, DC Comics), $16.99, ISBN: 9781779512246

Ages 13-17

The third in the Teen Titans series from Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo, Teen Titans: Robin is the fourth Teen Titans story that includes Raven, Beast Boy, and Beast Boy Loves Raven. Joined by Damian Wayne and Max Navarro, the group is on the run from Slade Wilson and H.I.V.E.; Dick Grayson leaves Gotham to find his younger brother, Damian. Damian resists getting to know his adopted brother, feeling like his father, Bruce, attempted to replace him, but Grayson just wants to get to know his brother and keep him and his friends safe. With equal emphasis on character growth, developing relationships, and action, this is a great addition to the series. Picolo does so much storytelling through his color changes and shading; he takes each color that readers and viewers familiar with the Titans will recognize and makes them part of the story, leaving Slade Wilson’s story gray and desolate. This one’s for the middle and high schoolers, but upper grade elementary schoolers may be interested, too.

I’ve been such a fan of these YA and middle grade books since they launched a few years ago. By bringing original graphic novels to kids and finding authors and illustrators that are standout names, they’re investing brand new generations of readers into comics and graphic novels.

Posted in Fiction, Middle Grade, Middle School, Realistic Fiction, Tween Reads

Tales from the TBR: The Kids Under the Stairs

More reporting as I continue scaling Mount TBR. Two years ago, I read BenBee and the Teacher Griefer; the first in a new series from KA Holt. The Minecraft-looking cover art and storyline drew me in – I’m a kids’ librarian and a mom, Minecraft and Roblox is allllll around me – and seriously, a KA Holt book is an exciting time. I loved BenBee, and finally made time to read the next two books in the series. Folx, I am a fan.

Ben Y and The Ghost in the Machine: The Kids Under the Stairs, by KA Holt, (Sept. 2021, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781452183213

Ages 10-14

The second Kids Under the Stairs book puts Ben Y on center stage: Ben Y, Benita, whose older brother, Benito, helped create Sandbox and communicated with her via Sandbox chat. and whose recent sudden death has her reeling. She still logs into chat to talk to him, but one night, someone responds. Who knows about Benito’s and Ben Y’s secret chat? Grief and recovery are major plot drivers in Ben Y and the Ghost in the Machine, and equally strong subplots about gender identity, dress coding, and journalism drive this brilliant story. Ben Y narrates most of the story, with appearances from the other Kids Under the Stairs: BenBee, Jordan, Javier, and Ms. J, the lovable teacher-turned-librarian who runs the “Newspaper Typing Club”, the new name for the Sandbox club. The introduction of a new character, Ace, keeps the narrative even more interesting and adds a drop of conflict. The story narrative pairs with Sandbox interactions to keep readers engaged. Ben Y’s writing is in verse, with other character interactions emphasized with italics and written in straight prose. Chat room interactions are presented as block text interactions and set off with black-framed pages. The Kids Under the Stairs is an excellent series that examines issues facing tweens and young teens and features brilliant portrayals of neurodiverse people. Download a free teacher guide to the book at Chronicle’s book detail page.

Ben Y and The Ghost in the Machine has a starred review from Kirkus.

 

 

Jordan J and the Truth About Jordan J: The Kids Under the Stairs, by KA Holt, (Sept. 2021, Chronicle Books), $17.99, ISBN: 9781452183213

Ages 10-14

It’s Jordan’s turn, and I am psyched! Jordan’s energy and honest enthusiasm made this my favorite book in the Kids Under the Stairs series so far. Jordan loves a competitive dance show, Fierce Across America; as such, he obsessively talks about it and even writes a column about it in the school newspaper – it doesn’t go well, because Jordan is a little too honest in his opinions about the school’s dance team and where they stand in reference to Fierce Across America hosts and dancers. Things change when Fierce Across America tryouts come to the Kids’ town in Florida, and Casey Price – one of Jordan’s schoolmates – asks him to choreograph a winning routine to advance her through the competition. Subplots on Jordan and Javier connecting through an art class and family financial stress meet many readers where they’re at, addressing issues that they can understand and work through. Jordan’s voice is exuberant and sweet, hesitant and apologetic, as he navigates situations; storytelling takes place in Sandbox chat rooms, through notes drawn on artwork from the “old lady art class” Jordan and Javier take together, school newspapers, Jordan’s notes to his therapist, and Jordan’s own storytelling. Boo-yah!

Download a free teacher guide at Chronicle’s book detail page.

 

Posted in Adventure, Fiction, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Tween Reads

BOOK BLITZ! NatGeo Explorer Academy Forbidden Island

BuyGoodreads | Trailer

A heart-pounding final showdown changes the life of Cruz Coronado forever in the seventh and final book in this thrilling fact-based fiction series.

Amid assignments that take the Explorer Academy recruits from the iceberg-filled waters of Antarctica to the bone-dry deserts of Argentina, Cruz Coronado is scrambling to complete the last piece of the cipher. With Nebula agents and the elusive explorer spy still out there, his opportunity to recover his mother’s world-changing formula is slipping away. But as Cruz has learned from his time aboard Orion, true explorers must never give up.

Even after completing dozens of high-risk missions and traveling to all seven continents, Cruz could never prepare himself for one ultimate surprise.

Explorer Academy features: Gripping fact-based fiction plot that inspires curiosity with new technology and innovations; amazing inventions and gadgets; a cast of diverse, relatable characters; secret clues, codes, and ciphers to track down within the text; vibrant illustrations; elements of STEAM; National Geographic explorer profiles in the "Truth Behind" section.

Check out the Explorer Academy website featuring videos, comic shorts, games, profiles of real-life National Geographic Explorers, chapter excerpts and more. 
 


Praise:

"Sure to appeal to kids who love code cracking and mysteries with cutting-edge technology."  
Booklist

"A perfect blend of adventure with real science and technology!"
New York Times #1 best-selling author Rick Riordan

"A fun, exciting, and action-packed ride that kids will love."
—J.J. Abrams, director and screenwriter of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Lost, Alias

"Inspires the next generation of curious kids to go out into our world and discover something unexpected.”
—James Cameron, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and acclaimed film-maker

 

About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

TRUDI TRUEIT has written more than 100 books for young readers, both fiction and nonfiction. Her love of writing began in fourth grade, when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play. She went on to be a TV news reporter and weather forecaster, but she knew her calling was in writing. Trueit is a gifted storyteller for middle-grade audiences, and her fiction novels include The Sister Solution, Stealing Popular, and the Secrets of a Lab Rat series. Her expertise in kids nonfiction encompasses books on history, weather, wildlife, and earth science. She is the author of all the narratives in the Explorer Academy series, beginning with Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret. Trueit was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and lives in Everett, Washington.

 


GIVEAWAY

  • Three (3) winners will receive the COMPLETE 7-book Explorer Academy series and an Explorer Academy map, showing all the places around the world that Cruz and his classmates visit over the course of the series!
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 11/27 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 

Posted in Middle Grade, Non-Fiction, Non-fiction, Teen, Tween Reads, Young Adult/New Adult

The LEGO Engineer will take your builds to new heights

The LEGO Engineer, by Jeff Friesen, (Nov. 2022, No Starch Press), $24.99, ISBN: 9781718502505

Ages 10+

I am always looking for good LEGO books for my library. We have a weekly LEGO build that the kids love, and I like to make sure I have books around that will inspire them. Jeff Friesen is always a good purchase for me: I’ve got The LEGO Castle Book and LEGO Space Projects and they are chock full of block-spiration. Friesen’s newest, The LEGO Engineer, is another win; this time, taking on some of the most incredible engineering feats ever created, including cable-stayed bridges and a LEGO South Beach, in all its colorful glory. There are over 30 models, all beautifully photographed by Friesen, and include step-by-step illustrated instructions and a wealth of engineering know-how to make your builds as realistic as can be. It’s a beautiful coffee table book for LEGO enthusiasts and it’s a challenging book of ideas for LEGO fans and future engineers. An excellent choice for collections where LEGO books are popular.

Want to see more of Jeff Friesen’s work? Follow his Instagram page. Want more LEGO learning? Visit LEGO’s education page for free lesson plans.

Posted in Non-Fiction, picture books, Women's History

Dressing Up the Stars: A picture book biography with style

Dressing Up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head, by Jeanne Walker Harvey/Illustrated by Diana Toledano , (Sept. 2022, Beach Lane Books), $18.99, ISBN: 9781534451056

Ages 4-8

Famed costume designer Edith Head may be a new name to many younger readers, but Harvey and Toledano’s story about the little girl who grew up dressing up her pets for tea parties and creating dollhouse furniture from scraps will appeal to readers with a creative bent. The story follows Head from her childhood in a Nevada mining town to her move to Los Angeles, where she lost herself in the magic of movies; from her beginnings as a sketch artist who didn’t know how to draw, to her rise as the definitive Hollywood costume designer, Dressing Up the Stars focuses on Head’s resolute determination to create her own movie magic. Back matter includes an author’s note on Edith Head’s life and career. Mixed media artwork creates a variety of textures, and colorful illustration stands out against the pale backgrounds, much like Edith Head, who famously dressed in grays, whites, and blacks so that “the movie stars could imagine themselves in their roles”. A very good addition to picture book biography collections. If you have maker programming at your library or in your classroom, Dressing Up the Stars is an especially essential purchase for your collection.

Download a free Dressing Up the Stars activity kit from Jeanne Walker Harvey’s website. Encyclopedia Britannica has an entry on Edith Head, and online magazine supplement The Cut has an article featuring 30 of Edith Head’s designs that you may be interested in sharing with readers.

Jeanne Walker Harvey has had many jobs, ranging from working as a roller coaster ride operator to an attorney for high-tech companies to a writer of magazine articles to a teacher of Language Arts and writing workshops at a public middle school. She has also been a longtime docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is the author of several books for young readers, including the picture book biographies Dressing up the Stars: The Story of Movie Costume Designer Edith Head, Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas, Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines and My Hands Sing the BluesRomare Bearden’s Childhood Journey. Jeanne studied literature and psychology at Stanford University. She lives in Northern California. Visit her online at www.jeanneharvey.com.

Twitter: @JeanneWHarvey

Pinterest: @JeanneWalkerHarvey

Check out the many resources here at Jeanne Walker Harvey’s website!

 

Diana Toledano is the illustrator of picture books including One Snowy Day by Diana Murray and the Polly Diamond series by Alice Kuipers. She grew up in Spain and now lives in Sacramento with her husband and their young daughter. Learn more at Diana-Toledano.com.

Instagram: @dianatoledano

Facebook: Diana Toledano

Pinterest: Diana Toledano

Posted in History, Middle School, Non-Fiction, Teen, Tween Reads

Seen and Unseen captures the Japanese American Incarceration

Seen and Unseen: What Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams’s Photographs Reveal About the Japanese American Incarceration, by Elizabeth Partridge/Illustrated by Lauren Tamaki, (Oct. 2022, Chronicle Books), $21.99, ISBN: 9781452165103

Ages 10-14

The 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor guaranteed America’s involvement in World War II, but it also sparked a wave of anti-Asian sentiment that resulted in Japanese families – included American-born citizens – sent to internment camps across the country. Three photographers – Dorothea Lange, Toyo Miyatake, and Ansel Adams  – captured the lives of the incarcerated families, now revisited in Seen and Unseen. Partridge, award-winning author and Dorothea Lange’s goddaughter joins forces with illustrator Lauren Tamaki to create a unique nonfiction story of these interrupted lives, with Tamaki’s artwork woven in with black and white photographs and quotes from those who were there. Each photographer approached the project with their own goals: Lange was critical of the U.S. policy that imprisoned the Japanese; she intended to show the incarceration in all of its brutality. Miyatake was a Japanese-born photographer interned in one of the camps; he smuggled in photography equipment to show the public what really went on in the camps. Adams hoped to concentrate on the resilience of the imprisoned. All three accomplished their initiatives, leaving a body of work that shows future generations that fear and mistrust can divide a nation. Photographs, illustrations, and primary sources, plus generous back matter and notes make this an excellent, necessary purchase for elementary and middle school nonfiction collections.

Seen and Unseen has starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Kirkus.

Posted in Tween Reads

Blog Tour: TILTERSMITH by Amy Herrick

Welcome to The Tiltersmith Blog Tour!

Follow along as we celebrate the release of The Tiltersmith with behind-the-scenes looks from author Amy Herrick, plus 10 chances to win a copy!

Old Books that Bump into Magic
by Amy Herrick

In yesterday’s blog I talked about my early reading habits, how I particularly loved the kind of fantasies where magical encounters came to ordinary children much like myself as they moved through their ordinary worlds.

Several of these books I go back to again and again looking for the same sensation they gave me the first time I read them, of sitting in my bedroom on a dull and rainy afternoon and noticing a slightly open door in the wall of my bedroom. A door that had never been there before. A door with some light coming through it or maybe a little music or laughter or maybe a scent I’d never scented before. A World in Back of the World.

I’ll mention here a few of the books from my childhood that still do this for me. Books that are still in print, but possibly you have missed.

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbitt

This book was first published in 1902. Although it takes place in England and is over one hundred years old, you will find the children in it perfectly recognizable and ordinary. They have been brought on a summer vacation to a house in the country. One day they find a big sand pit and decide to try to dig a hole to Australia. They don’t manage to get that far, but along the way they accidentally dig up a Psammead, “which in plain English” is a Sand-fairy. It is round and fat and furry with eyes at the end of long horns, like a snail’s eyes.  It has been sleeping in the sand pit for the last few thousand years and, as it turns out, is able to grant wishes. This, it proceeds to do, giving them one wish each day. Although the children attempt to be careful, knowing from fairytales how easy it is for things to go wrong in such matters, each wish brings on more trouble than the one before. The book is funny, charming and cleverly suspenseful. It was pretty much a ground-breaker in its time.
Bedknob and Broomstick by Mary Norton

This one was originally published as two books, the first in 1943 (Bedknob), the second (Broomsticks) in 1945. They were later combined in an edited version in 1957.  In this story, three siblings are sent away from London to stay with a relative in a countryside town. There, early one morning, they accidently observe their very proper and upright next-door neighbor flying by their window on a wobbling broomstick. When they confront Miss Price with their discovery that she is a witch in training, she devises a clever means of keeping their mouths shut and her secret safe. She gifts them with an enchanted bedknob which will turn their bed into a magical vehicle. When they twist the knob, the bed will carry them anywhere they wish in time or place. The catch is that she will take the spell away if any of them divulge her secret.

In the beginning, it appears that the adventures will be of the tangled, light-hearted variety. For their first wish, longing to see their mother, they give the bed their home address. The bed plops them down in the middle of a foggy London street, dressed only in their pajamas. Unfortunately, their mother is not at home and they are soon carted off to a nearby police station by an annoyed policeman. By guile and quick wits, they manage to get out of this one, but as the book moves on and they are taken across the world* and then thrown into the distant English past, the stakes grow higher and it becomes the sort of book you are reading under the covers with a flashlight.

*It should be noted that in one of these later chapters there is a “cannibal island” scene in which the children meet up with a fictional primitive culture. Nowadays, Norton’s descriptions of the tribe the children encounter might be considered stereotypical and inaccurate.

Half Magic by Edward Eager

Half Magic was the first written of Edward Eager’s seven books about ordinary children who happen to bump into magic right in the middle of their ordinary United States of America childhoods. It takes place at the time of Eager’s own childhood in 1920’s United States and was first published in 1954. The story opens at the beginning of summer. The four protagonists, one brother and three sisters, are bored and hoping they might encounter some magic like the children do in the books of Edith Nesbit. Although, as Mark, the brother, says: “Magic never happens, not really.”

Then Jane finds what she believes to be a nickel stuck in a crack in a sidewalk and puts it in her pocket. She doesn’t really look at it and doesn’t begin to realize the peculiar power of the coin until she innocently wishes out loud that a house would catch on fire somewhere nearby, so they could have some excitement. In the next moment several fire trucks go racing down the street and the children go running after them. They soon stop in front of a yard where a very fancy play house is burning to the ground in a great conflagration of smoke and flames.

In the next instance, their mother, without asking for permission, borrows the coin (also mistaking it for a nickel) off Jane’s dresser. She goes out for a boring evening with relatives, wishes she could be at home without needing to take the long bus ride, and suddenly and inexplicably finds herself on a dark and lonely road, halfway to where she has wished to be.

It soon becomes apparent to the children (although not to their mother), that the coin can grant wishes, but only half a wish at a time.

As the book unfolds, the foursome must experiment as they try to figure out how to cajole the coin into giving them an entire wish.

You might say, that by the end, they are half successful.

The process, however, is a fully satisfying joy ride for the reader.

If you’ve missed any of the above, I envy you. What a first-time treat you have in store for yourself.


About the Book

Amazon | BookshopGoodreads

Myths and monsters collide with climate chaos in a thrilling fantasy adventure.

Spring has arrived in Brooklyn, New York, but winter refuses to let go. Sleet, snow, and even a tornado batter the city. Mr. Ross, the science teacher, believes climate change is the cause, but classmates Edward, Feenix, Danton, and Brigit suspect older, magical forces are at work. When a peculiar character calling himself Superintendent Tiltersmith appears with a keen interest in the foursome, their suspicions are confirmed, and they’re swept up in a battle of wits and courage.

The friends must protect a set of mysterious tools belonging to the Lady of Spring. If they can free her from her underground prison, winter will end. But if the Tiltersmith steals the tools, he will keep the Lady in his power and upset the balance of nature forever.

Perfect for readers of Madeleine L’Engle and Susan Cooper, The Tiltersmith returns to the world of Amy Herrick’s acclaimed Time Fetch in a timely, exciting stand-alone adventure.

Praise:

“Herrick combines vivid descriptions of climate events, school-set science lessons, and weather-related stories from various cultures around the globe . . . resonates with current events and fits tonally alongside children’s fantasy classics.”
Publishers Weekly

“Vacillating between scientific reasoning and lore from worldwide cultures, the descriptions of beautiful legends of seasons and the sobering study of climate change are so rich.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Despite the contemporary setting, a diversified cast, and topical themes, events take on ritualistic elements that readers up on their Greek mythology will recognize. American fans of Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence will find themselves on familiar footing, albeit a bit closer to home.”
Booklist

“The author proves to have a keen eye for developing wonderfully dastardly villains. Tiltersmith is a fantastic bad guy who oozes disarming charm while also being deeply unsettling … cleverly handled … a compelling tale.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books  

“It’s a great combination of the mystical and the scientific! A bit of gentle romance shouldn’t deter younger readers . . . The writing style is craftily literary, with warm incisive forays into each character’s inner life.”
Youth Services Book Review   

About the Author

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Amy Herrick grew up in Queens, New York, and attended SUNY Binghamton and the University of Iowa. She lives in Brooklyn, where she has raised two sons, taught pre-K and grade school, written books, and kept company with her husband and numerous pets. A retired teacher, she loves traveling, learning Spanish, and above all reducing her carbon footprint.


GIVEAWAY

  • Ten (10) winners will receive a hardcover of The Tiltersmith
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 11/6 at 11:59pm ET
  • Enter via the Rafflecopter below
  • Visit the other stops on the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 


Blog Tour Schedule:

October 17th Mama Likes This
October 18th A Dream Within a Dream
October 19th Always in the Middle
October 20th BookHounds
October 21st Mrs. Book Dragon

October 24th Good Choice Reading
October 25th Mom Read It
October 26th YA Books Central
October 27th Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
October 28th Randomly Reading

Posted in Middle School, Teen, Tween Reads

Blog Tour: PIECE BY PIECE by David Aguilar

David Aguilar was born with half a right arm; he calls it his “diff-ability”. With the love and support of his family – and a knack for creating – he built his first prothesis from LEGO bricks when he was nine, and continues creating and innovating in ways to make change happen and make others’ lives better.

Piece by Piece : How I Built My Life (No Instructions Required), by David Aguilar and Ferran Aguilar/Translated by Lawrence Schimel, (Oct. 2022, Amazon Crossing Kids), $9.99, ISBN: 9781662504266

Ages 10-14

Written by David and his father, Ferran Aguilar, and translated from the original Spanish by author Lawrence Schimel, Piece by Piece is heartbreaking and funny. David’s voice clearly emerges from the page to take readers into his world; never evoking pity, David is pragmatic about his limb difference, explaining it by asking readers if they miss an eleventh finger they never had: “Whoa! You don’t know what that feels like, right? I count to five. You count to ten. I am not missing anything. Neither are you”. The Aguilars inspire their readers to expand their world view, to innovate, to try, to keep going. A color photo insert called “The Tale of Hand Solo” (inspired by the name of the award-winning documentary about him) introduces readers to Aguilar’s life. Piece by Piece is absolute perfection for middle school reading. This should be a part of every LEGO Robotics team’s reading. An essential first purchase for library collections.

“Humorous and uplifting…While readers needn’t be LEGO fans to admire David’s ingenuity, fellow builders may be inspired to dream up their own inventions.” ―Kirkus Reviews

David Aguilar and his father, Ferran Aguilar, are from Andorra, in Europe. David was born missing part of one arm. At the age of nine, he designed his first prosthesis with LEGO bricks, and in high school he built the next generation, which he named the MK-1. David’s father encouraged him to make a video about his prosthesis and the huge role that LEGOs played in his life, and posted it on social media, where it went viral and changed both of their lives. In addition to telling his story in this book, David is also the protagonist of the Spanish documentary Mr. Hand Solo, which won the award for best documentary at the Boston Science Fiction Film festival. David is currently developing his own brand, Hand Solo, which will aim to benefit various organizations for the disabled and fight against the stigma of “diff-ability,” as he calls it. Follow David and Ferran on Twitter @Handsolooficial and @AguilarFerran.

Instagram: @handsoloofficial

Lawrence Schimel is a bilingual author who writes in both Spanish and English, with more than one hundred books to his credit. He is also a prolific literary translator, into English and into Spanish. His translated books include Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats; George Takei’s graphic novel They Called Us Enemy; and Some Days, written and illustrated by María Wernicke; among many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain. Follow him on Twitter @lawrenceschimel.

 

Posted in Fantasy, Teen, Young Adult/New Adult

Go read Rust in the Root RIGHT NOW!

Rust in the Root, by Justina Ireland, (Sept. 2022, Balzer + Bray), $18.99, ISBN: 9780063038226

Ages 14+

Justina Ireland’s new historical fantasy is everything that other historical fantasy about magicians in the 1920s and 1930s should have been. Set in 1937, Laura Ann Langston arrives in New York, from her small town in Pennsylvania. She wants to earn her mage’s license so she can become a baker to the stars, but fate has a curve ball waiting. She takes a she applies for a job with the Colored Auxiliary of the Bureau of the Arcane’s Conservation Corps: magic exists in this history, and like everything else at the time, it’s segregated. Ireland expertly weaves U.S. history into her fantasy to give us an incredible story where white Necromancers and Mechomancers – magic with metal – threaten the world’s structure; the Auxiliary, made up with different areas of magic users, use natural means to combat them. Sent into the Ohio Deep Blight – an area of Ohio under attack from Necromancy – and Laura, now known as the Peregrine, ventures into the Blight with her mentor, the Skylark, and a group of apprentices. When they arrive in Ohio, they discover a deep, evil purpose behind the disappearance of the previous team sent out, and that their own lives are in danger. Justina Ireland views American history through a social lens and brings to life a fantasy that makes perfect sense. Black and white photos run throughout, with wry observations from Peregrine; missives from the Skylark will keep you guessing until the end. Incredible storytelling and world-building make this one of the best books I’ve read this year. Read this, booktalk this, and give it to history and fantasy fans alike.

Rust in the Root has starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Kirkus.