Seriously, this book tries too hard. It tries to be quirky, it tries to be funny, it tries to connect to 10-14 year old boys who liked Lemony Snicket, play lots of video games, and love karate, it tries to be a vocabulary builder, and it tries to teach the reader about imagination, courage, and thinking outside the box.  In the end it succeeded in making me skim read to the end to find out what happened, and then say incredulously, “seriously?” Perhaps I’m being too harsh.  Chris Raschka is a Caldecott medalist after all.  And there are some funny moments and some curious charactersRead More →

What do 41,267 books look like, you ask? Well, they come nicely wrapped on 16 large pallets.  They barely fit in our back receiving area. Then when you cut the shrink wrap and start separating them, those pesky boxes fill the rows.  You have to fill the rows, unpack all the boxes, then fill up the row again.  It can be a little insanity-inducing.   Your only choice at that point is to dive right in.  (Simon’s Cat is inspirational for this kind of work, you know)   Since Monday night, the four of us have logged over 70 hours, countless squats, lifts, forward bends, and backRead More →

Peter Parker, meet Steve Jobs. In a 21st century twist on the superhero genre, Kevin Brooks gives us iBoy.  Tom Harvey is a average teenager living in the lowerclass section of London, in a housing project rife with gangs, drugs, violence, hopelessness and poverty.   Not one to meddle in affairs that don’t directly impact him, Tom keeps his head down and muddles along.  On a day when he’s going to visit Lucy, a girl in the projects he’s known since childhood, Tom’s fate is sealed: an iPhone is thrown from the 3oth floor, hitting him in the head at 77 miles per hour, fracturing his skull andRead More →

From The New York Times Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting  blog(Oct. 12, 2011): In the name of encouraging my kids to read, I’ve dumped my iPad’s Kindle app. In many ways, I loved it. Every bookshelf in our house is two deep, with stacks on nearly every surface. I liked the idea of having at least some books take a less intrusive form. But I realized that no matter what I said, when I sat down in the evening during what I’d dubbed “quiet reading time” with the iPad, my kids didn’t believe I was reading. And they were often right. . . . A bookRead More →

22 year old Joel Bloom’s life is at a crossroads – literally.  He can accept the decision of the draft board and go to Vietnam, a war that he opposes, or he can flee to Canada, a fugitive with little hope to return home.  It seems that Joel’s destiny has been to go to war: he grew up in an industrial town in Massachusetts in the years following WWII, dreaming of fighting in the military or maybe winning the World Series for the Brooklyn Dodgers.  But there’s always been something about conflict, war, politics and violence that didn’t make sense to Joel, and no oneRead More →

Publisher’s Weekly (Oct 13, 2011) reports: When Australian author John Flanagan arrives stateside in early November for a two-week, cross-country tour, he’ll have a lot to talk about. On October 4, Philomel published Ranger’s Apprentice: The Lost Stories, a collection of tales starring the characters from Flanagan’s bestselling 10-book fantasy adventure series. On November 1, the publisher will release Brotherband Chronicles: Book 1: The Outcasts, the inaugural volume of a series that is set in the world of Ranger’s Apprentice but introduces a new cast of characters who embark on seafaring adventures. Ranger’s Apprentice, which has sales of more than three million copies in theRead More →

New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater has created something wonderful, enchanting, thrilling, and unique in her latest, The Scorpio Races.  It’s hard to say what I like most about this book – its breathtaking scenery and visceral sense of place; the pulse-pounding thrill of the wild horses racing on the beach; the lovingly crafted, superbly detailed characters (human and horse); the fact that it’s a unique blend of romance, action, coming of age, and fantasy that feels so different from most everything else out on the YA market right now; or maybe, simply, the powerful honesty of a book well written, carefully edited, and lovinglyRead More →

Publisher’s Weekly (Oct. 13, 2011) reports: The finalists for the 2011 National Book Award in Young People’s Literature were announced on Wednesday. The nominees are: Franny Billingsley, Chime, edited by Kathy Dawson (Dial), Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy, edited by Melanie Kroupa (Marshall Cavendish); Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again, edited by Tara Weikum (Harper); Albert Marrin, Flesh & Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy, edited by Michelle Frey (Knopf); Lauren Myracle, Shine, edited by Susan Van Metre (Abrams/Amulet); and Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now, edited by Virginia Buckley (Clarion). The winner will be announced on NovemberRead More →

The October issue of our newsletter is out now! Bringing book industry news, info on new releases and cool websites, book reviews, opportunities to win free books, author spotlights and much more to you, our readers! Not signed up for our email mailing list? It’s easy- just find the Join Our Mailing List link on the right sidebar of this blog. (Or, click here) In the meantime, just in case you didn’t get one, check out the newsletter here. Did we mention you could win free books? Check it out to find out more! 11/1/11 Update: The October Lucky Winner is Vicki G.  Congratulations!! This giveaway is now closed.Read More →