Self-described explorer, adventurer, librarian and author C. Alexander London‘s An Accidental Adventure: We Are Not Eaten By Yaks has everything lovers ofthe Lemony Snicket adventures want in a book: slightly strange, bored, disinterested tween protagonists; dead or missing parents; outlandish villains; impossible-to-survive adventures and impending doom at every turn; a sinister plot by a secret organization; and a slightly off-key narrator who will faithfully record the unlikely heroes’ adventures for any reader brave enough to turn the pages. Eleven year old twins Celia and Oliver Navel would prefer to watch television 24 hours a day. Their list of favorite programs and actors is long, butRead More →

Pete Hautman’s latest, The Big Crunch, is not the kind of love story you’d expect when someone says it’s a love story.  June and Wes are an unlikely couple, both to themselves and to the reader.  June’s parents drag her from city to city every year when her dad changes jobs, so she never has much time or inclination to make any real connections that will have to be dropped and forgotten.  She’s developed a jaded stance that allows her to observe her life and remain aloof and safe from emotional attachments.  Wes thinks of himself as a “semi-cool semi-geek” who at the start ofRead More →

Jeffrey Kluger’s Freedom Stone is a rare gem of a book.  He takes the reader on a magical journey to a beautifully realized time and place and leaves the reader feeling connected with the characters long after the last word is read. Lillie has lived her whole life on the Greenfog plantation in South Carolina with her parents and younger brother, Plato.  With the War not going well for the Confederate Army, slave volunteers are being accepted to fight with the promise of freedom for themselves and their families.  Lillie’s father joined up, but months ago he was killed in action and with Union gold found inRead More →

When Millie was little, a magical “small person with wings” (don’t ever call them fairies!) lived with her and her family.  He was her special, secret friend: he made beautiful illusions in her room, turned squash (yuck) into candy corn, and most off all, he never made her feel bad about her weight. One day Millie brags about him to her kindergarten class, promising to bring Fidius to show and tell, and instantly the kids want to be her friend. When Millie tells Fidius about what she did, she realizes she broke his trust and the next day he leaves her forever.  The loss ofRead More →

Fans across several generations have paid heartfelt tribute to Judy Blume in their entries in the Judy Blume Journal Contest, which Listening Library debuted January 3 on a dedicated Web site . Readers are asked to share a “Judy Blume story or memory” and to vote for their favorite journal entry posted on the site. From the five contestants receiving the most votes, Blume will select a winner, who will receive an iPod Touch, an audiobook collection, and a personal message from Blume. Visit the Judy Blume Journal Contest site to see the rules and enter to win.Read More →

Celebrating the Spirit & Practice of Volunteerism  RIF proudly presents the 2011 Anne Richardson RIF Volunteer of the Year Awards (VOYA) program, presented by Macy’s, in celebration of the dedication and service of truly outstanding volunteers. It recognizes the inspiring work of RIF coordinators, parent volunteers, and community volunteers who donate their time, talents, and energy to motivate children to read. These individuals share a common goal of fostering children’s literacy through their efforts at over 17,000 RIF sites across the country. The award includes: An all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the winner and nominator to be honored at RIF’s Gift of Reading Gala on MayRead More →

Diane Stanley’s 2006 novel Bella at Midnight is a magical fairy tale.  Bella is a peasant girl, raised in a small Medieval village by a blacksmith, his wet-nurse wife, and their 2 other children.  She’s kind, imaginative, and happy. Her best friend is her mother’s former charge, Julian, a prince of the realm.  Alice is a thoughtful, somewhat overdramatic merchant’s daughter, who dreams of adventures at sea and visiting exotic lands with her father.  But soon both girls’ lives are irrevocably changed:  Bella learns that she’s really the daughter of a knight who sent her away when her mother died in childbirth and now she must return toRead More →