Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let's Talk Tween Girls

I am so excited that this week my friend and fellow blogger Suzanne Bell is sharing one of my book reviews, Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek.  If you missed my recommendation for this wonderful Tween book then please stop by her blog and check it out at www.asksuzannebell.com.  It is one of my favorite books for tweens this year.


In fact, her style blog includes a section on tween fashion for parents.  From selecting the perfect dress to managing back to school shopping, she is a wonderful resource for navigating the new trends for your daughter with aplomb.  See I can focus on things that aren't books ... sometimes!

In honor of her post I am concentrating on some new can't put down books for tween girls this week.  I hope they provide your daughters with stories that speak to her about the joys and challenges of middle school.  It's nice to know you're not alone.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest for all the books that help tween girls navigate school and friendships.  And go visit Suzanne's blog.  She is fun, flirty and full of wonderful style advice that will take at least one tween challenge off your plate.  How can you resist that?


Title:The Battle of Darcy Lane

Author:Tara Altebrando

Target:Grades 4-7

Series:No

What this book is about: 
Julia is 12 and this summer she plans to spend her days with her best friend and neighbor Taylor.  However, when a new girl moves in across the street, suddenly Taylor has no time for her, and on top of that, the new girl doesn’t seem too fond of her either.  Suddenly summer is rife with betrayal and longing to fit in.  Will Julia find her place?

Why I love this book:  
Strangely I loved the way the parents are written in this book.  Everything that Julia’s mom does, I can see myself doing in this exact same situation.  Girls will quickly recognize their parents in this story, in a good way!  The book and the relationships all resolve themselves well, but they aren’t too neatly wrapped up, giving the story authenticity.

I also like that Julia is flawed too.  While she certainly has to deal with some bullying from the other girls, she is not completely innocent or perfect, but that only makes her real and more believable.  

The author obviously writes of that which she knows.  The last line of the acknowledgments says, “And an extra special thanks to the two girls who made my life on Albourne Avenue so miserable.  Victory is mine.”  The books sounds real because it is!

Who this book is for:
Great book for any girls who have felt like a victim in their friendships.

Final thoughts: 
Navigating friendships can be tough.  Girls need to know they are not alone and that things will change.

Also, the cover of this book is terrible.  I can't imagine any girl in the target audience picking this book up without prompting.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Battle of Darcy Lane  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Best Alternative to Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I just love it when one of my favorite authors comes out with a sequel.  However there is always a moment of trepidation.   What if the second book doesn't live up to the first?  In this case my fears were completely unfounded and I am thrilled that Tim Carvell has returned to Planet Tad.  If it were an actual place, I think I might live there.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest for all the books that promise to take you to a fictional planet but then turn out to be metaphorical.

Title:       Return to Planet Tad

Author:  Tim Carvell

Target:   Grades 4-8

Series:    Yes

What this book is about: 
Tad is back and better than ever.  This book is made up of his daily blog posts which reflect his challenges in 8th grade and high school and his musing of life in general.  Who can resist a daily post that shares his trip to Bed Bad & Beyond.  “We got kicked out … today, but it’s not really our fault.  The sign very clearly said “Throw Pillows””

Why I love this book: 
This book reads like a really funny stand up comedy act.  The one line zingers at the end of his stories, his hilarious  recounting of his days filled with challenges and his reflections on life in general will leave kids giggling the entire time.  I adore his deadpan humor.  Tad is a good kid with really funny insights.

Tim Carvell , the author, is a writer for the Daily Show so he does funny well.  This book is based on a series he does for Mad Magazine, but it is surprisingly tame despite it’s origins.  These books are fabulous.

Who this book is for:
The book is set up with daily blog entries, so it is an easy read that won’t feel overwhelming for kids who are more timid readers.   While this is the second book in the series, you do not have to read them in order. 

This book is a great alternative for kids who are hooked on Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate.  

Final thoughts: 
Get this book.  Well, perhaps I should clarify that it is only for kids who like to laugh.  If you don’t have one of those move on.  That’s right, keep walking.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Return to Planet Tad  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yes It's True - An Entertaining Fact Book for Kids

Kids love fact books.  Whether they are pouring through the Guiness Book of World Records, or National Geographic's Weird But True anthologies (which are up to about volume 15 by now, aren't they?) they are enthralled by all the tidbits of information that make life interesting.

The great part is when you can find fact books that actually teach a little something too.  In the book I am profiling today, not only did I learn some "wow" facts to impress my friends and family but I actually took away some elements of science behind these bits of information.  A nice pairing, if I do say so myself.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest for all the books that will make your kid sounds like the smartest kids on the playground.

Title:        It Can’t Be True!

Author:   DK Publishing

Target:    Grades 3-8

Series:     No

What this book is about: 
This book answers the big questions: How big is the sun? Where is the snowiest place on Earth? and How heavy are your bones?  The information is well presented with lots of appealing visuals and fun facts that will increase a kid’s understanding and knowledge.

Why I love this book: 
Sometimes it is hard to present difficult data in a kid friendly way.  This book is well thought out and makes the information easy to understand.  I found myself fascinated by this book, and I am generally not that interested in these fact books.  Even I was saying “no way!”  while reading and found the information easy to understand.  If a scatterbrained mom can get it, just think how much your kids will take away.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who love nonfiction fact books.  This one is done very well.

Final thoughts: 
Did you know that a parachute jumper actually broke the sound barrier?    Pretty cool stuff and yes, I am easily impressed.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: It Can't Be True!  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Terrific Graphic Novel for Teens

This book was on my "to be read" pile for weeks, no months.  I have no idea what took me so long.  I mean I love the author.  His Boxers and Saints graphic novels are brilliant.  Also, I am always looking for books that will pull in older boys who have abandoned books during their "down time" in favor of computer games.   But now I am just furious with myself for waiting so long!

I read this in one sitting, ignoring the pleas of my privileged children so I could get to the end.  It is not often I can say that about a graphic novel that tells the back story of a superhero.  This is not my usual fare, but boy was it good.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest for all the books that seem like they won't interest you in the slightest but turn out to be can't put down reads.  If I don't get you to pick them up, then who will?

Title:The Shadow Hero

Authors:Gene Luen Yang & Sonny Liew

Target:Grades 6 and up

Series:No

What this book is about: 
In this graphic novel, we learn the origin of the Green Turtle, a superhero made famous in the 1940s.  This book draws on the history of China after the collapse of the Ch’ing dynasty and brings in the folklore surrounding the mythical Chinese animal spirits.  We learn how a Hank, a son of Chinese immigrants, takes up the cause of injustice in Chinatown when the local mob threatens his way of life and he transforms himself into the first Asian superhero.

Why I love this book: 
First off, anything by Gene Luen Yang is guaranteed to be good.  He is the author of the game changing graphic novel Boxers and Saints.  He has elevated comic books to a whole new level, incorporating history, folklore, intelligent story telling and action.  As someone who is generally lukewarm on graphic novels, I couldn’t put this one down.  

I also love how the author gets readers interested in his Chinese heritage, making the stories come alive.  In this book, his protagonist is a Chinese American in the 1930s, not your typical superhero of the day.  

At the end of the story he provides a copy of the first Green Turtle comic book and some of the truths and myths surrounding it’s evolution.  It certainly pays homage to Chu HIng, one of the first Asian Americans working in the American comic book industry.

The book is full of action and humor (yes it is funny too), but at it’s core there is a subtle message of the changing landscape for Asian Americans during a volatile time in their history.

Who this book is for: 
You will find this book in the Teen section because of the mob violence depicted in the story.  However, the story itself is suitable for middle school.  It is up to you the level of comic book violence you feel comfortable with.  

Final thoughts: 
Call me a fan.  Gene Luen Yang will make a graphic novel lover out of me.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Shadow Hero  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Great Chapter Book for Grades 4-6

Stuart Gibbs is one of the authors that I love to recommend to kids.  Not as many people have heard of him (although that is changing quickly) and his books are well written, full of likable characters, have plenty of action, and employ just the right amount of gross humor.  I rarely fail to get a kid excited about reading with his books, and lets be honest, I like to win ... a lot!

This latest offering is well aligned with his previous books set in the animal park.  He is starting to get a little formulaic, which is good and bad.  I think kids like the predictability of knowing this book will be a good read but as an adult I would like to see him branch out a bit.  He is such a good writer that I think he may have different stories to tell us that challenge kids in a new way.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest for all the books that are out of this world.  Hold on to your spacesuit!

Title:       Space Case

Author:  Stuart Gibbs

Target:   Grades 4-8

Series:    No, but the author has similar books: Poached and Belly Up

What this book is about: 
The year is 2040 and America has created a colony on the moon.  Sadly for Dashiell, a twelve year old kid, living on the moon is not as exciting as some might think.  But then the base physician is found dead outside of the air lock.  While most people think he went crazy, Dash isn’t so sure.  Suddenly Dash is busy trying to find out the truth, but not everyone wants him digging too deep.

Why I love this book: 
Gibbs is one of those authors that delivers every time.  First off he hooks readers with his just on the verge of gross it's cool antics, which in this case involve the workings of a space toilet.  He then hits you with a mystery where the kid is the only one to see the truth.  Finally, he empowers his main character to solve the mystery with lots of action, adventure and a great side kick.  It is a predictable formula but he does it so well that he grabs me every time.

While his other like type mysteries are set it an animal park, this one on the moon is quite enlightening.  It was fun to learn a little about what it might be like to colonize the moon and I think it does paint a realistic picture of what that would entail.  Of course Dash is engaging and likable and you are rooting for him from the start.

Who this book is for: 
This is a great book for kids who like mysteries and action books  If you kids liked Loot or any of Chris Rylander’s books, this one will be a slam dunk.

Final thoughts: 
Gibbs delivers again with a book that is out of this world!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Space Case (Moon Base Alpha)  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Terrific Early Chapter Book

While I do have a lot of books to read (about 75 in my to be read pile) every once in a while I like to revisit a ongoing series to see how it is holding up.  I also realize that your kids aren't stagnant in their reading growth.  While early chapter books may have seemed like an unattainable goal a year ago, you may now be in the thick of them and need some recommendations fast!

So this week I am going back to a series that has been a favorite of mine.  There is always some risk that the later books won't hold up to their earlier promise, but with Alvin Ho I had nothing to fear.  Great stuff even six books in.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest for all the early chapter books that are still going strong.  Good for you Lenore Look!

Title: Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions

Author:Lenore Look

Target:Grade 2-4

Series:Yes

What this book is about: 
In this sixth book in the series, Alvin is still afraid of everything.  As Alvin’s family embarks on a trip to China, they start with a 16 hour plane ride that is anything but smooth for the anxiety driven Alvin.  From plane toilets to turbulence, it is amazing they all get there in one piece.  Of course, the crowds and polluted air mean that Alvin sabotages almost every outing they go on, but somehow this family manages to get through.

Why I love this book: 
Look does a wonderful job of creating such a neurotic and sympathetic character in Alvin, that we can’t help but giggle at all his quirkiness.  Of course the best part are his exasperated parents who manage to hang on and create memorable moments for Alvin, despite everything.  I think that Alvin puts most kid’s fears in perspective.  They may be worried about some of the same things, but not ALL those things, giving them some confidence and understanding.  

Kids will also get introduced to a variety of famous landmarks in China as well as develop some cultural understanding. Not bad for an early chapter book.

Who this book is for: 
Good fit for kids who are already enjoying early chapter books.  Lots of great illustrations, but kids need to be more confident readers. 

Final thoughts: 
Lenore Look does it again with a funny and poignant book about a character I have grown to really enjoy.  Lets face it, Alvin makes me laugh.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Funniest Picture Book This Year

Funny picture book alert!  If you read this blog, you know that I love books that cause my listeners to laugh until they cry, giggle until they can't breath and spit milk through their nose as they crack up.  I have a high, or some might say a very low bar.  But irregardless, I see my job as providing you with books that will make your children love words ... and this book will do that in spades.

After you read all my insightful musings on this book,  you will be rewarded with a video of the author reading a portion of the story at the end of the blog.  It really is your lucky day!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest for all the books that will make you look like the funniest person in the room.  Now how can you resist that?

Title:       The Book With No Pictures

Author:  B.J. Novak

Target:  Preschool - Grade 2

What this book is about:  
Siliness is the name of the game in this new offering.  This book really has no pictures, so the author diligently reminds the kids that the person reading the book has to read ALL the words … no matter what.  The reader is then reduced to having to claim that he/she is a robot monkey with blueberry pie for a head, their best friend is a hippo named Boo Boo Butt and that the child listening to the story is The Best Kid Ever!  I dare you to name a child who can resist this one!

Why I love this book:  
Laughter!  My son was laughing so hard while I read this book that he almost spit milk out of his nose - which met the criteria I have outlined above for a funny book so I knew I had a winner.  While Boo Boo Butt will of course reduce kids to a cacophony of giggling, this book allows any adult, even the less theatric, to play up the fun.

I love that the author added engaging side notes in the book where the adult is appalled that he/she has to say all these things.  It is also delightful in a picture book when the words are the star of the show.  As kids move into books with fewer and fewer illustrations, this reminds them how powerful text can be!

Who this book is for: 
Kids who like to laugh and parents who are willing to make fools of themselves for the joy of books.

Final thoughts: 
While I am normally not a fan of celebrities writing children’s books, when an actor who has won an Emmy for comedy writing decides to bring his talents to the children’s arena, I am thrilled.  Smart humor is always in style, especially when it is directed at the younger set, who lets be honest, will laugh at anything with the word butt in it.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Book with No Pictures  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.


Now enjoy the author reading a portion of his book to an audience of delighted kids!