Sunday, July 17, 2016

We've moved



One Great Book is no longer on Blog Spot

We can officially be found at www.onegreatbook.com

You can still use this site to access my past blogs, but all my new books are at my official address.  In a few weeks all my old posts will have moved over so update your bookmarks.  You don't want to miss any of the great  books I am about to profile because ... they're good!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Delightful Early Chapter Book

I had a chance to look at one of Cornilia Funke's early chapter books recently.  I love her middle grade fiction, so it was nice to see what she is doing for the younger crowd.

This book reminded me of something I would have read as a child, but thankfully it never fell into the trap of feeling old fashioned.  However, that said, it is probably not a book I would pick for kids who like lots of action or their humor on the more explicit side.  It is a quieter funny book, so kids who appreciate that will be drawn to this story.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss a single any early chapter books with pirates, pigs and buried treasure.  Ahoy me mateys!

Title: The Pirate Pig

Author: Cornelia Funke

Target: Grades 1-3

Series: Funke has a series of early chapter books but each story is independent.

What this book is about: 
Stout Sam and Pip live on Butterfly island where they run a transport service.  They are very content with their lives.  One day they come upon a pig, to whom they immediately become attached.  It turns out she is Pirate Pig that can sniff out treasure on the high seas.  Sam and Pip have no need of treasure but they love their pig.  When Barracuda Bill, the meanest and greediest pirate around, hears of this pig, he steals it and takes it off to his ship.  Now Sam and Pip will have to stage a rescue to get their beloved friend back.

Why I love this book:  
This book was delightful.  I picked it up because I like Cornelia Funke and I was not disappointed.  Sam and Pip are true of heart and they value their friend more than any treasure he can sniff out for them.  A lovely message that never got sappy in the least.  I am not a fan of sappy.

The illustrations kept this book lively and added to the humor of the story.  The book is full of suspense, but it never gets scary.  There is plenty of innocent excitement and laughs which could have felt dated, but thankfully never did.

Who this book is for: 
This book is lovely for independent readers who still need larger text and pictures.  It is a quieter type of funny, so kids who are drawn to that will enjoy this story.

Final thoughts: 
The translation from German was well done.  Sometimes books can feel a little off, but this one was spot on!

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Funny Early Chapter Book

I love to find great early reader chapter books.  Kids are getting excited about their new skill and when they can practice on stories that entertain and delight, it just leaves them with a wonderful impression about books.  That always puts a smile on my face.

The book I am profiling today is both fun and funny.  As a graphic novel, it doesn't intimidate new readers because they aren't overwhelmed by text and they have illustrations to help them decipher more difficult words.  Oh, I wish they were all this good.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss a single story that reads like a comedy act and keeps your kids coming back for more.

Title: Haggis and Tank Unleashed: All Paws on Deck

Author: Jessica Young

Target: Grade 1-4

Series: Yes

What this book is about: 
In this graphic novel, the inventive dog Tank gets a very bored dog Haggis to embark on an imaginative pirate adventure across the high seas.  They get seasick, look for buried treasure and even encounter a sea serpent before they are returned home to their full bowls of dog food!

Why I love this book:
  • The author uses plenty of homonyms like “sale” and “sail” or “aye”, “I” and “eye” in amusing ways to keep kids thoroughly entertained and laughing.  Some of the passages read like the old Abbot and Costello bit “Who’s on First”.  
  • The graphics are delightful.  Full color panels and with plenty of action make the pages very inviting.  However, the illustrator is from one of my favorite graphic novel series Bird and Squirrel, so I am not surprised.
  • With humor, word play and fun characters this book is delightful and engaging for early chapter book readers.  Parents won’t even mind joining in.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who are ready for chapter books.  The plentiful illustrations and text bubbles make challenging vocabulary more accessible.

Final thoughts: 
Love this new series!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Haggis and Tank Unleashed.  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Books for Soccer Crazed Girls

If you have a soccer crazed girl, as I do, I wanted to share some books that I have recently enjoyed with my daughter.  To purchase any of the books simply click on the picture which will take you to Amazon.  A portion of each purchase will go back to this blog at no cost to you.



For Soccer-Crazy Girls Only by Erin Downing

My daughter took this book straight to her room when I brought it home.  It really covers everything from warm ups to nutrition, practice to great players and even hairstyles.  I thought it was extremely motivating for her.  It had her thinking about strategies and even gave her the incentive to practice more at home.  The layout makes it a fun, easy read and it is a must have if your daughter dreams of being on the National Team one day!



The U.S. Women's Soccer Team Road to Glory: American Heroes by Noah Davis and Rick Leddy 

This book is a wonderful look at women's soccer, from the team's origin, to it's record breaking victory at the last World Cup. Girls will learn about the women who came before them who built the team and the program, and they will find out more about their favorite players.  I do wish the book read a little more like a story than a history lesson, but it is a fair account of both the victories and the setbacks the women encountered.  Girls will have a renewed appreciation for how far the women have come after reading this book.



Saving the Team (The Kicks) by Alex Morgan 

Despite the fact that these books are a little young for my daughter now, she still devours every one.  They are written by Alex Morgan and profile a team of soccer girls.  Having been on a team for so long, my daughter can relate to so many of the stories and relishes how the girls handle the interactions.  She has also taken some good soccer pointers from the stories - an added bonus.






Breakaway: Beyond the Goal by Alex Morgan

My daughter read this one in one day.  She is a huge fan of Alex Morgan so this book was right up her alley.  A biography of her career in soccer, it is full of inspiration and advice for girls.  While my daughter really enjoyed the book, she did wish that Alex had bigger challenges to overcome.  She felt that Alex, while an incredibly hard working and dedicated soccer player, also had a bit of a charmed life.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

A Picture Book to Stop Summer Boredom

I usually use Friday to bring out a book I have profiled in the past that is still fun and relevant for your kids.  But this week I had so many picture books in the pipeline, that I decided to devote Friday to another picture book that I absolutely adored.

The author/illustrator Jonathan Fenske has popped up on my radar twice with his early readers when I was a judge for the Cybils.  His work, in my opinion, just keeps getting better and better.  If you are in the market for an early reader please check out his sentimental Love Is in the Air and his wickedly funny A Pig, a Fox, and a Box which I had too much fun reading with a group of First Graders recently!

Don't forget to follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email for great picture books.  I want to remind you that no child was bored in the reading of this story.

Title: Barnacle Is Bored

Author: Jonathan Fenske

Target: Preschool - Grade 2

What this book is about: 
Barnacle lives under the pier and he is bored with a capital B!  How much fun can you have when the tide just comes in and out and the sun just goes up and down? I mean wouldn’t it be better to be a fish who can hang with the other sea creatures, frolicking the day away?  Well, Barnacle feels that way too until the fish gets eaten! You better believe Barnacle is no longer bored and perhaps even relieved with his lot in life!

Why I love this book:
  • I love the illustrations in this book!  The color, the simplicity and the expressions are all so compelling.  My favorite page is after the fish gets eaten and Barnacle suddenly realizes that perhaps things aren’t as bad as he thought they were. No words, just a priceless look from Barnacle that says it all.
  • The message in this book is timely.  We are bombarded with images that life for others is so much better than our own.  What a lovely way to remind kids that every person has his/her challenges, despite how things may initially appear.
  • This author just keeps getting better and better.  I have judged two of his early readers for the Cybils awards and his latest effort, A Pig, a Fox, and a Box was brilliantly funny.  This picture  book just shows his growth as he refines his messages into crisp, humorous and compelling narratives for kids.

Who this book is for: 
Kids who like their funny with a little irony and sarcasm will certainly love this book.  Adults will be willing to endure repeat readings with ease.

Final thoughts: 
I can’t wait to see this author’s next creation!

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Caldecott Contender

I have a dismal track record of picking Caldecott winners, the Oscars for Picture Books.  Now the Newbery is a different story, but the Caldecott just shows me no mercy.  So while I will tell you that the book I am profiling today should probably be on the Caldecott short list, don't hold your breath.  My track record speaks for itself.

However, if you want a book that absolutely touched me in both a sentimental and a humorous way, then this is the one.  If those judges don't at least give it serious consideration, well that's on them.  Although now that picture books are winning Newbery awards, perhaps this one has a better shot  at some hardware than I thought.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss my own personal picks for award winners.  I have included an interview on the Daily Show with the author which I absolutely loved!

Title: Thunder Boy Jr.

Author: Sherman Alexie

Target: Preschool - Grade 3

What this book is about: 
Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad.  His dad is Big Thunder and he is Little Thunder.  But Little Thunder has a secret ….. he hates his name!  He attempts to come up with new names that represent the things that he has accomplished in his life such a touching the nose of a wild orca or climbing mountains.  But he has no idea how to broach the subject with his dad.  As luck would have it, his dad comes up with a new name for Little Thunder that is more than perfect, proving this father/son duo will “light up the sky.”

Why I love this book:
  • I was a child of the ’60/‘70s in California with a name that represented my Norwegian heritage.  It was a name that NO ONE had heard of, I felt I had no connection to and I hated it.  But you don’t have to be named Freya or Little Thunder to come to the conclusion that there are times growing up that you will hate your name or the responsibly of a family name.  Alexie Sherman has taped into this universal truth and given kids a voice when they are fed up with the poor decisions their parents have saddled them with.  (For the record I now love my name, although still few people have heard of it.)
  • I love the imagery in this book.  As Little Thunder tries to come up with new names, his accomplishments, wishes and personality are revealed with humor and a sense of delight.
  • When his dad comes up with a new name for Little Thunder my favorite line in the book is revealed “My dad read my heart!”  I know, I know, I hate touchy feely stuff but what a gift when someone can read your heart!  Love it!
  • This book is funny.  While touching and sentimental, this book never loses its sense of humor and that is what nailed it as a must read for me.

Who this book is for: 
Great for all kids.  Wonderful way to show Native Americans in a contemporary light.

Final thoughts: 
I have not touched on the illustrations by YuYi Morales.  I was not initially drawn to them, but after reading the book several times, I couldn’t imagine a more vibrant and expressive artist to make this story come to life.  She is constantly playing with perspective, shape and color and her work is striking.  These illustrations definitely grew on me.

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



Monday, June 27, 2016

Fabulous Picture Book for Kids

Let us not forget the picture book this summer!  My "big kids" still pull picture books down from the shelf to peruse and frankly, I think they get the humor on a whole new level now.

I just love it when I find a picture book that makes me giggle and that I am willing to read numerous times.  Today I have just such a book!

Now for your summer reading tip!  Get all the kids involved.  Why not have the older kids read to the younger ones?  Or you can share the duties in the story, giving your older kids the pages or parts they feel the confident presenting.  Your older kids will feel responsible, they get to practice their reading and they strengthen that sibling bond ... that is until the next disagreement!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss any picture books that you are willing to read until the cows come home! Yep, that's quite a few times.

Title: We Forgot Brock!

Author: Carter Goodrick

Target: Preschool - Grade 1

What this book is about: 
Phillip has a best friend Brock.  Oddly enough, no one else seems to be able to see Brock.  When the family goes to the Big Fair, Phillip falls asleep after a long day and Brock does not come home with them … he is lost!  While Phillip is searching frantically for Brock, Brock has met up with a lovely girl Anne and her “best friend” Princess Sparkle Dust.  They keep him company until Phillip and Brock are reunited and the whole gang become the best of friends.

Why I love this book:
  • Ok, I have had this aversion to the firestorm of books about imaginary friends.  Seems like they are cropping up at a pace equivalent to whack a mole!  So I had little hope for this story, until I read it!  Kids do not need to have an imaginary friend to appreciate the humor and silliness of this book, which is present in spades.
  • The artwork is ideal.  Imaginary friends are drawn as childish versions of illustrations, but their expressions are perfect.  That the author has chosen to represent Brock as a full out pirate/gearhead with a pencil thin mustache is just hysterical.
  • The fact that Phillip is incredulous that his parents can’t see Brock is just perfect.   How those adults can’t see the obvious is beyond me.
Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who like The Adventures of Beekle or frankly any child who likes to laugh.  No imaginary friend required.

Final thoughts: 
Loved this book.  It is a real gem.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: We Forgot Brock!  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Books to Keep Kids Reading Over the Summer

Friday is here again and for Flashback Friday I have a book that I just loved when I first read it.  It was one of those stories that my son begged me to read because he couldn't stop talking about it and frankly I felt the same way after I finished.  Despite being written in the 1980's, it has stayed amazingly current and relevant for today.  To top it off the action is nonstop, making it a can't put down read.

Now for my summer reading tip.  Books on Tape!  There I said it.  When you have road trips coming up, why not download something for the car ride?  My kids and I recently went to Disneyland and I downloaded Frindle by Andrew Clements on my phone.  They were actually visibly disappointed when it was over and had to go back to their video games!  Another favorite of my husband and myself from previous trips is The Twits by Roald Dahl.  I think we got just as caught up in the story as the kids.  Just make sure you get the full versions and not the abridged.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss a single book from the past that will keep them reading in the present.

Title: Ender’s Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Target: Grades 6 and up

Series: Yes

What this book is about:
Earth has defeated an attack from an alien species.  In an attempt to stop future attacks, they have sent ships across the galaxy to try and neutralize the threat.  However, they need to groom a great leader to defeat these aliens.  Ender Wiggins is the earth’s great hope.  He is strategic, brilliant, ruthless when he needs to be - and only six years old.  He is taken from his family and sent to battle school to be molded into the hero Earth desperately needs.  But will battle school train him or break him?

Why I love this book:
This is a great book.  Ok .... did you hear me?  Just in case you missed it, this is a great book!  I have no idea why it took me so long to read it, despite the pleas of my son.  I knew I needed to get it under my belt, but now I am just mad it took me so long!  

The development of Ender as a leader is fascinating.  The battle games they play in zero gravity at battle school had me on the edge of my seat.  The reaction to Ender’s brilliance and the threats to his well being had me off balance throughout the story.  This is a can’t put down book in the best possible way.

Who this book is for:
Kids who like dystopian books, especially series such as Maze Runner will love this story.  I do have to warn parents that there is some bad language, although it isn’t rampant.  There are also some mature references, and some violence, so be warned if you have younger kids.  Grade six is the earliest I would recommend it based on these things.

Final thoughts:
Ender’s Game combines powerful messages about war and forgiveness with an incredibly engaging story.  Despite the fact that this book was first published in 1985, it remains current and relevant.

To purchase this book
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Ender's GameA portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.   Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Book For Kids About Making Assumptions

Summer continues and more good books are available to keep your kids reading.  The book I am profiling today is an insightful look at fitting in and more importantly about making assumptions about people.  If you have a child who will be going to a new school in the Fall, this might be the perfect book to hand them this summer.

Of course I want to share another summer reading tip with you.  Food!  Yes, that one word can make a difference.  I have a basket of "book worms" aka gummy worms.  When the kids read they are free to grab a bag to snack on, but only when reading.  Once again, it makes reading feel more like a treat than a punishment.  Behold the power of the snacks!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss the latest books to not only keep them reading, but get them ready for the new school year.

Title: Save Me a Seat

Authors: Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Target: Grades 3-6

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Told in alternating perspectives, this book focuses on Joe, a 5th grader with an auditory processing disorder and Ravi, a new student who has just move to Joe's school from India.  Both become the target of Dillon, the class bully.  Joe has to work on not letting Dillon define him and Ravi must confront the fact that first impressions are not always correct.  As Ravi adjusts to a new culture he also comes to realize that he acted just like Dillon in India and perhaps with this fresh start he can define himself differently.

Why I love this book:
  • I got totally caught up in the plight of Joe and Ravi.  Joe is the kid who just warms your heart and you feel for him on so many levels.  Ravi kind of annoyed me at first with his arrogance, but I came to appreciate his desire to fit in and his realization that his past behavior was less than admirable.  That self realization made me like him quite a bit by the end.
  • I love the technique of alternating view points.  It gives the reader so much more insight into the characters and I appreciate seeing the same scene from different points of view.  It also breaks up the text making it a much more mageable read, especially for reluctant readers
  • The one problem I had with the book was how mean Dillon was to the boys.  I have a hard time believing someone could get away with all that name calling in Fifth grade.  I also felt that bullies are usually quite a bit smoother around adults.  However, I was completely caught up in the story, so a quibble.

Who this book is for: 
Great for reluctant readers because of the alternating viewpoints and larger print.  Good book for kids who like realistic fiction and are fans of books like Wonder.

Final thoughts: 
I really enjoy learning more about the immigrant experience, especially immigration from India.  I am several generations away from my Norwegian/German ancestors who came to America so I haven’t heard about their assimilation.  However, we have a plethora of new Indian families in my area and it did shed light on their efforts to fit in while maintaining their heritage.

To purchase this book: 
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Save Me a Seat.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Reading for Kids

Summer fun continues this week with a book that explores the immigrant experience.  But don't worry, I haven't gotten too serious on your kid's beach vibe.  While this book will prove extremely enlightening for your children, it is also full of humor and laugh out moments.  This author has been able to combine heart with levity making this a refreshing and thought provoking book.

Ok, now for my summer reading tip.  Make trips to the library fun!  Kids who aren't book lovers can feel lost at the library. I am giving you a link to a blog that has delightful library challenges: Growing Book by Book.  While they apply mostly to picture books they can be adapted to middle school readers as well.  Why not check out the Newbery winners from the year you were born?  What about checking out the first and last books in the fiction stacks?  Some will be hits, some won't, but they will certainly give you a place to start.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you don't miss books that can be entertaining and informative during the summer.  The best of both worlds.

Title: It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

Author: Firoozeh Dumas

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about: 
In this semi autobiographical story,  Zomorod has moved from Iran to California.  Newport Beach is their latest stop.  It is the late 1970’s and she is about to start middle school.  First off, she is so tired of people asking her about the camels in Iran that she decides to go by Cindy, I mean it works on the Brady Bunch.  She is also dealing with the typical embarrassment any middle schooler feels towards her parents, compounded by the fact they haven’t quite mastered the language or the culture.  As she navigates between these two worlds she is also confronted by the hostility towards Iran in the wake of the Hostage Crisis.  This is a lot for one kid to handle.  Thankfully she has supportive friends and healthy sense of humor to manage through it.  Oh, and by the way, the only place she has ever seen a camel is the zoo!

Why I love this book:
  • Ok, full disclosure.  I grew up in California and am the same age as the author, so I could really relate to this story.  I wanted a puka shell necklace and a canopy bed just as much as Cindy!  I also had an unusual Norwegian name that I would have done anything to change.  However, I did not have the immigrant experience which plays so prominently into this story.  It is the humor and honesty with which the author tackles this narrative that charmed the socks off me.
  • Did I mentioned I laughed throughout?  Any girl will relate to Cindy being mortified by her family at times, but throw in some of the Persian customs and I had a hard time not laughing out loud.  Let me just say Sexy Grandma T-Shirts with sequins and It’s a Boy wrapping paper figured prominently in my vocal outbursts.
  • Despite the giggles, what I loved about this book was that it humanizes the immigrant experience for kids, and gives them a wonderful peak into our history with Iran.  I learned something and I even lived throughout the experience!  I also think it figures nicely into how we talk to kids about immigrants in the US, especially during this politically charged time.  A story about a real family and their challenges is quite powerful.

Who this book is for: 
I can’t wait to give this to my tween.  Wonderful for kids entering middle school who like realistic fiction.

Final thoughts: 
A really lovely book that combines honesty, humor and history to deliver a story that will stay with me.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: It Ain't So Awful, Falafel.  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Sweet Read for Kids

When I found out that one of my favorite books was about to have a sequel published, well that made the book I was going to highlight for Flashback Friday an easy pick!  Make sure you get The Candymakers into the hands of your kids.  It is full of fun, mystery, action and candy!  I really can't give you a better pick.  And with the sequel The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase on the horizon there is even more to love.

Of course I also have to leave you with a summer reading tip!  Don't think reading means a novel!  For kids reading can be a joke book, a handbook or even a magazine.  My son loves Sports Illustrated Kids and my daughter can't wait for American Girl or Teen Vogue.  Don't get me started on the amount of knock knock jokes that have been read to me over the years!  Just remember that reading is reading, no matter what form it takes.

Don't forget to follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss the latest installments of some great series.  Not all my picks are this sweet, but they are guaranteed to please!


Title:            The Candymakers
Author:        Wendy Mass
Target:         Grades 4-7
I really had a hard time putting this book down.  I was surprised how well written it was.  It started off very much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Four kids are selected to participate in a candy making competition and are allowed into a chocolate factory that was closed to visitors long ago.  However, this is where the similarity ends.
The fun of this book is that the story is told in five parts, the first four are from the perspective of each of the participants.  You see the story from the first child’s perspective, and then low and behold, when you get to the next child, your perception of the events are thrown on their head.  I loved it each time my son got to a new revelation, he looked up at me just as amazed as I had been.  The story gets richer and more interesting with each child’s version. 
I will say that some of the scenarios are bit far fetched, but it is a children’s book, set in a candy factory for goodness sake, so I will certainly allow the author the whimsy that the books subject conjures up.  Once I was into this story, I found it difficult to stop reading (kind of like a bag of M&Ms, you can't take just one handful), which I think is the best kind of recommendation!

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



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Great Summer Reads for Kids

The fun continues with more summer reads that will get your kids excited about books over the break!  Today I have one that teaches us about Wonder Woman when she was just a teen, trying to manage friends and please her mom.  Perhaps she was a little more typical than anyone would have first imagined?

Of course I have another summer reading tip for you.  Try to put out a variety of books for your kids to choose from.  The library is a great place to go to get a stack at no cost to you!  Sometimes when parents only purchase or bring home that one book they think will work for their kids, they put too much pressure on their child to like that particular story.  If it isn't a hit, the child feels guilty and thinks they have disappointed their parent.  So let variety be their guide and don't worry if one book isn't a fit.  A month from now it may be the perfect read!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you don't miss any of the summer books that will make kids realize that reading really is a fun summer activity.

Title: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High

Author: Lisa Yee

Target: Grades 3-7

Series: Yes

What this book is about: 
In this story, Wonder Woman is just a teen who wants to hone her skills and be the best Super Hero she can be.  While she loves her mom, she has never left her home on Paradise Island, and she wants to see the world and make new friends.  She convinces her mom that she should attend Super Hero High which is far from her island.  As she navigates new friends, social media and learning valuable life skills, all she wants to do is to make her mom proud. But someone doesn’t want Wonder Woman at Super Hero High and she needs to find who and why!

Why I love this book:
  • Ok true confession time.  I was very skeptical of a book that has a full on marketing blitz of action figures and lower grade readers tied to it.  What you can end up with is a book that is meant to sell toys and not a book that is well written.  I am happy to say that this one surprised me in the best possible way.  While not highbrow literature, it is funny, full of suspense and thoroughly engaging.  What a delight.
  • I love the focus on female comic heroes.  I never had a real interest in the comic books with male dominated action heroes, but I was all in to learning about the ladies.  It makes these comics much more accessible and interesting to girls.
  • Lisa Yee has created a story that gives us the history and power of Wonder Woman, but also deals with everyday issues that girls are navigating through in school.  There is social awkwardness, finding friends and managing difficult social situations  Girls will be able to relate to these stories minus the bullet deflecting cuffs of course.

Who this book is for: 
Girls who have liked books series like Ever After High will enjoy this one.  But girls who also like books where the women are strong and problem solvers will also gravitate to this series.

Final thoughts: 
Loved learning about Wonder Woman and can’t wait for the next installment, Super Girl.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Fun Summer Book for Kids

You can never get on the summer brain drain early enough!  Get those kids reading right off the bat and you can literally watch their brains grow over the break.  The book I am profiling today is the perfect story to start their summer off right!

In our house we designate 30 minutes of reading time Monday through Friday.  Everyone stops and picks up a book ... yes even mom.  Now the kids can of course read any other time they want to, but by reading together it creates feeling of community.  No one thinks reading is a punishment.  Instead it's something we do together.  Everyone has their favorite spot in our side yard with pillows and a place to prop up their feet.  Mom has even been known to provide snacks!

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Title: Slacker

Author: Gordon Korman

Target: Grade 3-7

Series: No

What this book is a bout: 
Cameron is all about playing video games in his basement.  He has made a life of flying under the radar so that he can perfect his performance in his favorite computer game Rule the World.  But one day he is so caught up in the game that his house literally almost burns down around him.  His parents demand he gets an activity outside of gaming.  In his infinite wisdom he decides to make up a club, the Positive Action Group (PAG) and become the president.  The problem is that students start joining the club and promoting good deeds, which goes squarely against Cameron’s desire to lay low.  Will he actually have to get involved (gasp) or will he find a way to remain the ultimate slacker?

Why I love this book:
  • Cameron is every kid who sits on the couch and just wants to be left alone while they play.  Sound familiar?  Kids will relate to Cameron and his game playing addiction.
  • This story is told in multiple perspectives and short chapters which makes it an engaging read.  Korman is a skilled author and so there are plenty of laugh inducing moments.  This book reads quickly and it’s funny, making it a winner from the start.
  • I have been liking Korman’s recent books.  I was totally caught up in this story and wanted to see how long Cameron could hold out and remain a slacker.  Of course the less Cameron does, the more people in the school revere him for being their fearless leader of PAG.  Oh the irony!

Who this book is for: 
Great book for reluctant readers.  Also good for kids who like Dave Barry, Stuart Gibbs or Korman’s other series Master Minds.

Final thoughts: 
I don’t know how the twist at the end caught me by surprise.  I guess I am getting slow in my old age.  Can’t say more, you must read the book!

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

Friday, June 10, 2016

A Book for Kids About Fitting In

This is about the time when book folks start talking about which titles will pop up around awards season.  I have a feeling that the book I am profiling today will be included in those talks.

I have to confess that the idea of a robot stranded on a deserted island didn't quite make my "must read" list, but I was curious enough to finally pick it up and I am so glad that I did.  It really captivated me.  I am always impressed when a book that initially held no appeal for me ends up being a can't put down read.  That takes some real skill.  Well done Peter Brown!

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Title: The Wild Robot

Author: Peter Brown

Target: Grades 3-6

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Roz, a robot, is being transported across the ocean when her container ship sinks and she is jettied onto a deserted island.  She is the only robot that isn’t destroyed in the crash and some curious otters flip her switch to the “On” position by accident.  Suddenly Roz awakens to the only world she has ever know.  As she discovers her surroundings and learns what it means to survive she must make friends with the inhospitable animals who think she is a monster.  However, when new robots descend upon the island to bring Roz back to the factory where she was produced, it is the animals she has finally befriended who fight to keep her there.

Why I love this book:
  • I was absolutely captivated by this story.  Animals adhere to a routine to survive and the robot must adapt her routine to survive as well.  By understanding how and why the animals successfully exist, Roz is able to make friends and live a full life.  But beyond robots and furry creatures, this is a story about fitting in and finding your purpose in the world.  
  • I loved the short chapters and the illustrations scattered throughout the story.  This book was easy to read and visually enjoyable, which only enhanced the whole experience.  The ending is a bit ambiguous in terms of being happy or sad so I will call it hopeful.  I think kids will appreciate an ending that feels true.
  • I have loved Peter Brown’s picture books so I was very anxious to try his foray into middle grade fiction.  A brilliant debut.
Who this book is for:  
The type is large and the chapters are short making this a wonderful book for kids on the younger side or reluctant readers.  I will say that the big action sequence doesn’t take place until the very end, so kids have to be willing to invest in an emotional and clever story before they get a satisfying battle on which to end the narrative.  

Kids who enjoyed The Iron Giant would also like this book and this book would make a wonderful read aloud.

My daughter has been reluctant to pick this one up despite the fact that the story is right up her alley.  I think the first few chapters and the cover art appeal more to boys in general.

Final thoughts: 
I know we will see this one again come awards season!

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