I’ve been looking forward to Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles Book One by Marissa Meyer since the ARC came a few months ago. As the book got closer to the top of my pending stack, I kept glancing at the cover and wondering, excitedly, what the retelling of Cinderella as an android would be like.  So finally, on Tuesday, Cinder was at the top of the pile. I don’t remember much about Wednesday since I spent most of the day reading.  And despite a little awkward editing, I was rewarded for my patience with an engaging, fast-paced, creative story. In this era of re-imagining and retellingsRead More →

There’s one word that I come back to again and again when I read a book written by Christopher Paul Curtis: craftsmanship.   Curtis’ skill as a writer, his gift with storytelling and character development, and his awesome ability to reach through the printed page into the hearts and minds of his readers all combine into the mark of a true literary craftsman.  I’ve never been disappointed, been left wanting, or felt as though one of his books was swiftly pulled together to meet a deadline.  Instead, each page, each character, and each place is built slowly, carefully, lovingly, until the final product is somethingRead More →

School Library Journal (Debra Lau Whelan, December 16, 2011) reports: Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) comes to the rescue again. Just when things were looking grim for school libraries, the House and Senate this weekend passed the conference report for an Omnibus Approp riations Bill, which includes $28.6 million in federal funds for school libraries in FY 2012. And President Obama is expected to sign the bill when it lands on his desk. We’re very happy,” says Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the Washington Office of the American Library Association (ALA). “This is a tremendous victory for us. It gives school libraries money and demonstrates thatRead More →

From Huffington Post Education: Big new DonorsChoose matching grant efforts By: Craig Newmark Hey, you’ve already seen our support for DonorsChoose.org, where you can help kids in school by supporting their teachers’ projects. The deal is that teachers often have to fund projects or even buy supplies from their way-too-low salaries. You can help out with small contributions. They have a new matching effort, here’s what they say: Join DonorsChoose.org to pick your passion from thousands of classroom projects, and give back this holiday season. Use the match code REALSIMPLE to double your donation. People can donate to any project(s) on DonorsChoose.org and use the code REALSIMPLE atRead More →

10 great resources from Reading Rockets: Keeping kids interested and motivated to read is sometimes a challenge. Learn how to effectively motivate young learners, including tips from kids for teachers and parents, classroom strategies that work, and guidance for motivating struggling readers, reluctant readers, and boys. What Parents Can Do: Reading Tips From Kids Parents can make reading more motivating by letting children choose books and making reading a memorable family event. Find out what children themselves have to say about these guidelines for parents to increase motivation. Teacher Practices that Impact Reading Motivation Using Concept-Oriented Reading Instruction (CORI) or practices to encourage engagement, educatorsRead More →

Time Snatchers by Richard Ungar is about an orphan named Caleb who was adopted by a mysterious man known only as Uncle.  This ‘Uncle’ has created a way to go back in time. Caleb and the other adoptees are used by Uncle to go back in time to steal important, but not high profile, historical objects. To make a profit, Uncle sells these items to wealthy people who want pieces of history.  The adopted children, called time snatchers, are compelled to cooperate because if they fail to complete a mission, they are severely punished. The two most successful time snatchers, Caleb and Frank, are pitted againstRead More →

*The True Story of My Fairy Godparent, Who Almost Killed Me, and Certainly Never Made Me a Princess Jennifer Van Der Berg isn’t really the kind of girl who wanted a fairy godmother to grant her wish to be a princess.  She certainly isn’t the kind of teen to be swept up, head over heels in love, with the boy of her dreams. She’s pretty average, actually. A little quick to anger sometimes. Really, more of a cynic than anything else. So when the book Born To Be Extraordinary rockets her to fame by completely misrepresenting her “adventure with her fairy godmother”, Jennifer has noRead More →

The December 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, tech news and much more straight to your inbox! 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. December free book giveaway is now closed – congratulations Linda A.!Read More →

This was a tough one. Catherine Atkins’ The File on Angelyn Starkis gritty, intense, and unsettling. Its deceptively simple, succinct prose, short chapters, and sparse dialogue make it a quick read, but that comes at a price; this is a chilling story of a teen girl who is scarred by the sexual abuse she suffered at hands of her stepfather.  Being swept up in the train wreck that is Angelyn’s life is not really someplace that I enjoyed being, and I could hardly imagine living it day to day.  Angelyn’s boyfriend always wants to go further than she does; sometimes its easier to give in than toRead More →