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July 2013

Kidsreads.com for Parents Newsletter July 2013
HOT Summer Reads with Kidsreads.com
Summer certainly is heating up! Heating up enough to make you want to play "quiet time" in the shade and air conditioning more than wanting to take the family for a swim! Even though the heat can be overwhelming during summer months, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them! What summer activities has your family been busy with? When I was back in Chicago with my family, we went to Wrigley Field (Go Cubs!), my dad and I read in the backyard and we celebrated the Fourth of July with a family BBQ, complete with fireworks. We think July is also HOT with some terrific books, too. Let’s see what’s going on in the world of Middle Grade books!

On June 23rd, the first Kids’ Comics Revolution! Comic Awards were announced at a ceremony during the Kids Read Comics Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan. What’s really cool about this award is that although the nominees were selected by a committee of teachers, librarians and retailers, KIDS voted to decide the winners! At the ceremony, those winners received trophies made of LEGOS provided by the Ann Arbor District Library, which was really clever. AND they had some really silly categories. LUNCH LADY AND THE PICTURE DAY PERIL by Jarrett J. Krosoczka won Favorite Graphic Novel (Humor), and Lunch Lady also won Favorite Comic Book Hero as well as Best Hair in Comics. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE THIRD WHEEL by Jeff Kinney won Favorite Comic/Novel Hybird, and Jeff Kinney also won Favorite Cartoonist/Author. And there’s much more! You and the little ones can view all of the winners and a hilarious picture recap by clicking here.

Speaking of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, how excited are the kids you know for Wimpy Kid 8??? Well, the book isn't coming out until November 5th, BUT we'll all get a look at the cover on August 8th! Yup! And the question of the day is what the COLOR will be. To satisfy any questions little inquiring minds may have, head over to the Wimpy Kid website for them to ask the crystal ball questions. It's SUPER cool --- there are questions they can choose from, or they can write their own! Click here to try to get some Diary of a Wimpy Kid answers!

Summer is the perfect time to get hooked on a new series, don’t you agree? For those who know kids who LOVE getting scared silly, here’s a new series and a contest for them! In honor of the release of the first book in James Preller's new Scary Tales series, HOME SWEET HORROR --- where Liam Finn, his dad and sister have just moved into a new house, which is haunted by Bloody Mary --- we have a special contest. Five readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of this horror story. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, August 12th at noon ET.

And for another new series….Gordon Korman’s THE HYPNOTISTS is about Jackson Opus, who has always been persuasive, but he doesn't know that he's descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He's excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute --- but when he realizes he's in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents and his government.

While we love sharing NEW series titles with you and your family, we also like marking a special moment for a beloved one. So with that, we bring GREAT news for fans of Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House series! The 50th book in the series, HURRY UP, HOUDINI! is coming out on July 23rd and features Jack and Annie meeting legendary magician Harry Houdini. And if your children haven’t experienced these adventures through time and history yet, you should go find a copy of ANY of the books in the series and get hooked on it together!

Do your kids think it's a good idea to dig through the sofa to find spare change? Three friends do in WHAT WE FOUND IN THE SOFA AND HOW IT SAVED THE WORLD by Henry Clark, and they find more than nickels and dimes; they find a rare zucchini-colored crayon. Little do they know that this crayon will launch them into the middle of a plot to conquer the world! Will they be able to save the planet?

Can a friendship last amid wartime tensions in 1812? In SALT: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost, Anikwa and James spend their days exploring together in the forests of the Indiana Territory. Anikwa is a member of the Miami tribe, and James’ family members are traders who have ties to the Miami community as well as to the American soldiers in the fort. Now tensions are rising as the British and American armies prepare for battle and Native Americans from surrounding tribes protect their homeland. James and Anikwa must decide where their deepest loyalties lie.

This adventure actually reminds me a lot of the classic Disney movie The Great Mouse Detective…mostly because it’s a story from the perspective of mice and is set in London --- and I sure LOVED that movie when I was younger! In Richard Peck’s THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL, the smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a mystery, he doesn’t even have a name…or know who his parents are. After his Aunt Marigod sends him off to the Royal Mews Mouse Academy, he runs off, looking high and low to find out who he is and who he might become.

And here's another animal adventure. Kathi Appelt’s THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP follows raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah, who are newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man --- the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp --- is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts.

In Tom McNeal’s FAR FAR AWAY, Jeremy Johnson Johnson once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. But the truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. We featured our review of this fairy tale based novel in our last newsletter, but now we have an interview with Tom McNeal! Learn how he found his inspiration, what he loves most about fairy tales and what he’s working on next.

For those of you who have younger kids and still love reading stories together out loud as a family, we have a new feature for you! Now, we have a monthly roundup of picture books called "New Picture Books," where we pick our favorite picture books that are coming out that month. Cool, huh? Click here to see July's New Picture Books! BULLY by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is an office favorite!

With The Smurfs 2 coming to theaters on July 31st, there is plenty of time to revisit the stories that started it all! If your kiddies haven’t read The Smurfs graphic novels by world-renowned cartoonist, Peyo, we really think you should take a look at them. Especially now that the entire collection is available! Click here to check out the series!

Even though it is HOT outside, I hope your family can stay cool in local bookstores, libraries or any other air conditioned spot you may find to use your summer time to read!

Happy reading!

--- Liz Kossnar (liz@bookreporter.com)
Now in Stores: THE HYPNOTISTS by Gordon Korman
THE HYPNOTISTS by Gordon Korman (Fantasy)
Jackson Opus has always been persuasive, but he doesn't know that he's descended from the two most powerful hypnotist bloodlines on the planet. He's excited to be accepted into a special program at the Sentia Institute --- but when he realizes he's in over his head, Jackson will have to find a way to use his powers to save his friends, his parents, and his government. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

- Click here for more about the book.
 
Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: WHAT WE FOUND IN THE SOFA AND HOW IT SAVED THE WORLD by Henry Clark
WHAT WE FOUND IN THE SOFA AND HOW IT SAVED THE WORLD by Henry Clark (Adventure)
When River, Freak and Fiona discover a mysterious sofa sitting at their bus stop, their search for loose change produces a rare zucchini-colored crayon. Little do they know this peculiar treasure is about to launch them into the middle of a plot to conquer the world! With the help of an eccentric neighbor, an artificially intelligent domino, a DNA-analyzing tray, two hot air balloons and a cat named Mucus, they just might be able to save the planet. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

- Click here for more about the book.
 
Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: SALT: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost

SALT: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War by Helen Frost (Historical Fiction)
It’s 1812, and Anikwa and James spend their days exploring together in the forests of the Indiana Territory. Anikwa is a member of the Miami tribe, and James’ family members are traders who have ties to the Miami community as well as to the American soldiers in the fort. Now tensions are rising as the British and American armies prepare for battle and Native Americans from surrounding tribe protect their homeland. James and Anikwa must decide where their deepest loyalties lie. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

- Click here to read more about the book.
 

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL by Richard Peck

THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL by Richard Peck (Adventure)
The smallest mouse in London’s Royal Mews is such a little mystery that he hasn't even a name. And who were his parents? His Aunt Marigold, Head Needlemouse, sews him a uniform and sends him off to be educated at the Royal Mews Mouse Academy. There he's called "Mouse Minor" (though it's not quite a name), and he doesn't make a success of school. Soon he's running for his life, looking high and low through the grand precincts of Buckingham Palace to find out who he is and who he might become. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

- Click here to read more about the book.
 

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP by Kathi Appelt

THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP by Kathi Appelt (Fiction)
Raccoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man --- the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp --- is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

- Click here to read more about the book.
 

Click here to read a review.

 
Special Contest: HOME SWEET HORROR: Scary Tales, Book One by James Preller
In honor of the release of the first book in James Preller's new Scary Tales series, HOME SWEET HORROR --- where Liam Finn, his dad and sister have just moved into a new house, which is haunted by Bloody Mary--- we have a special contest. Five readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of this horror story. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, August 12th at noon ET.

HOME SWEET HORROR by James Preller (Horror)
Meet Liam Finn, who’s just moved into a new home with his father and sister. But this old house that seems empty, isn’t...Bloody Mary is here. Called back from the dead by a game, she’s just dying to talk. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski

- Click here to read more about the book.
 
Click here to enter the contest.

 
Interview: Tom McNeal, Author of FAR FAR AWAY
In FAR FAR AWAY, a boy named Jeremy Johnson Johnson finds himself to be the outcast in a small town. Not only does he have double the same last name, he also claims to hear voices. But he can hear a voice --- the voice of Jacob Grimm, one half of the famous Brothers Grimm. With his help, Jeremy tries to save the family bookshop, survive an unsavory adventure and find his place in the world.

In this interview, Tom McNeal shares his inspiration for this unique ghost story, what he likes most about fairy tales and what he's working on next!

- Click here to read a review.

- Click here to read more about the book.
Click here to read this interview.

 
Series Update: MAGIC TREE HOUSE #50: HURRY UP, HOUDINI! by Mary Pope Osborne
MAGIC TREE HOUSE #50: HURRY UP, HOUDINI! by Mary Pope Osborne (Historical Fiction/Adventure)
Magic Tree House #50 features Jack and Annie and legendary magician, Harry Houdini! If kids get hooked on Magic Tree House, they're hooked on reading!

- Click here to read more about the book.

 
Click here to visit our series feature.

 
New Feature! July's New Picture Books

July's roundup of New Picture Books features BULLY by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, in which Bully doesn't have a kind word for any of his friends. When the other animals ask him to play, he responds in the way he's been taught: Chicken! Slow poke! You stink!; Hyewon Yum's THIS IS OUR HOUSE, which follows a family through seasons and generations, from the early days of immigration to the times that made their house into a home; and THE CASE OF THE MISSING DONUT written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Isabel Roxas, where after a few nibbles, a donut disappears, but the sheriff and his deputy dog are on the case to find the missing donuts!

Click here to visit July's New Picture Books feature.


 
July's Books on Screen: The Smurfs 2
Beat the heat, and head over to an air-conditioned movie theater this July to see The Smurfs 2! This movie sequel features the voice of Neil Patrick Harris (yay!) and of course, those little blue creatures that you absolutely adore. Will the evil wizard Gargamel succeed in harnessing the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence?

In Theatres:

The Smurfs 2
Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria
Director: Raja Gosnell
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: July 31st (wide)
Based On: THE SMURFS by Peyo

The evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. But when he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants --- and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs --- Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris, where he has been winning the adoration of millions as the world's greatest sorcerer. It's up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity to return to our world, reunite with their human friends Patrick and Grace Winslow, and rescue her! Will Smurfette, who has always felt different from the other Smurfs, find a new connection with the Naughties Vexi and Hackus --- or will the Smurfs convince her that their love for her is True Blue?
 
Click here to view our Books on Screen feature!

 
Cool & New Books for July
July's roundup of Cool & New Books includes Hilary McKay's BINNY FOR SHORT, which follows Binny whose life was perfect at age eight, but then her dad dies and her dog is given away --- then everything changes again when she's 11; THE MOUSE WITH THE QUESTION MARK TAIL by Richard Peck, where the smallest mouse in London's Royal Mews is such a mystery that he doesn't even have a name, and soon he's on the run trying to find out who he is and who he might become; and RUNT by Nora Raleigh Baskin, which points out how bullies and victims are all in the perspective, from sibling rivalries to mean girl antics.
 
Click here to see July's Cool & New Books roundup.

 
July’s New in Paperback Roundup
July's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE LAST DRAGONSLAYER by Jasper Fforde, which follows 15 year-old Jennifer Strange who works at an employment agency for magicians, but it's hard to stay in business when magic is drying up; Rick Riordan's THE SEA OF MONSTERS: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book Two, in which Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet, but it doesn't stay that way for long; and GAME CHANGERS by Mike Lupica, where Ben McBain desperately wants to be starting quarterback on his school's team, but while he has heart, he doesn't have the size and arm strength Shawn O'Brien does --- however, Shawn has a secret Ben has promised not to tell.
Click here to see July’s New in Paperback roundup.

 
This Month’s Reviews
BLUFFTON: My Summer with Buster Keaton by Matt Phelan (Historical Fiction)
With signature nostalgia, Scott O’Dell Award–winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan visualizes a bygone era with lustrous color, dynamic lines, and flawless dramatic pacing. Reviewed by Emma Kantor.

THE HEARTBREAK MESSENGER by Alexander Vance (Romance/Humor)
Twelve-year-old Quentin never asked to be the Heartbreak Messenger. The valuable communication service he offers is simple: He delivers breakup messages. At first, Quentin’s entrepreneurial brainchild is surprisingly successful, which is great, because he suspects his mom, who works as a car mechanic, is worried about money. But as he interacts with clients, message recipients, and his best friend, Abigail, it doesn’t take long for him to wonder if his own heart will remain intact. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

CRUISERS, Book Four: OH, SNAP! by Walter Dean Myers (Fiction)
The Cruisers are in trouble---again. The freedom of expression they've enjoyed by publishing their own school newspaper, THE CRUISER, has spread all the way to England, where kids from a school "across the pond" are now contributors to their own school's most talked-about publication. When photos start to go alongside the articles written by kids, things get suspicious. Reviewed by Shelby H., Teen Board member.

LIVES OF THE SCIENTISTS: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull (Nonfiction)
Scientists have a reputation for being focused on their work—and maybe even dull. But take another look. Did you know that it’s believed Galileo was scolded by the Roman Inquisition for sassing his mom? That Isaac Newton loved to examine soap bubbles? That Albert Einstein loved to collect joke books, and that geneticist Barbara McClintock wore a Groucho Marx disguise in public? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

SAVING THANEHAVEN by Catherine Jinks (Adventure)
Noble is a knight with a heart that's true and, well, noble. With his not-so-trusty sword, Smite, he fights his way through a vicious, unfriendly landscape, sure (or at least, he thinks he's sure) that one day he'll defeat the bad guys (whoever they are) and win the heart (at least he guesses that's the idea) of a beautiful princess. Then one day Rufus comes along and turns his world upside down. Reviewed by Carly Silver.

WORSE THINGS HAPPEN AT SEA!: A Tale of Pirates, Poison, and Monsters by Alan Snow (Fantasy)
The kooky residents of Ratbridge are clamoring for the miracle medicine Black Jollop, but a shortage calls for action. The Nautical Laundry, the famed rat-pirate vessel, must journey afar to gather the medicine’s secret ingredient. But things aren’t what they seem…and soon the ship is under attack. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.


BINNY FOR SHORT written by Hilary McKay with illustrations by Micah Player (Fiction)
When she was eight, Binny’s life was perfect: She had her father’s wonderful stories and Max, the best dog ever. But after her father’s sudden death, money is tight, and Aunty Violet decides to give Max away—he is just too big for their cramped new life. Binny knows she can’t get her dad back, but she never stops missing Max, or trying to find him. Then, when she’s eleven, everything changes again. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

AFTER IRIS by Natasha Farrant (Family)
Blue Gadsby’s twin sister, Iris, died three years ago and her family has never been the same. Her histrionic older sister, Flora, changes her hair color daily; her younger siblings, Jasmine and Twig, are completely obsessed with their pet rats; and both of her parents spend weeks away from home---and each other. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

INVISIBLE INKLING, Book Three: THE WHOOPIE PIE WAR by Emily Jenkins (Adventure)
The adventures of Brooklyn boy Hank Wolowitz and his invisible --- but not imaginary --- friend continue with THE WHOOPIE PIE WAR, the third book in the Invisible Inkling series by Emily Jenkins. A truck selling ice-cream whoopie pies sets up right in front of the ice-cream shop belonging to Hank’s family, and it’s taking away all the shop’s business. They’ll do whatever it takes to beat the whoopie pie truck—unicorn costumes, extreme kindness, an army of supervillains. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SYLO by D.J. MacHale (Dystopian)
They call themselves SYLO and they are a secret branch of the U.S. Navy. SYLO’s commander, Captain Granger, informs Pemberwick residents that the island has been hit by a lethal virus and must be quarantined. Now Pemberwick is cut off from the outside world. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM! by James Preller (Horror)
Welcome. Take a seat. Buckle up, nice and tight. We’ve got a story to tell. But be warned. I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM! isn’t just any tale. This is a Scary Tale. Meet Sam Carver, an ordinary kid with a very special ticket in her pocket. This ticket will send her and her new friend Andy on a most unusual ride --- one that will leave them screaming for more. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.

THE HAUNTING OF GABRIEL ASHE by Dan Poblocki (Horror)
Something sinister lurks in the woods outside of Slade. Gabe has seen it, or he thinks he has---a shadow standing at the tree line, watching Gabe's house with faintly glowing eyes. Reviewed by Cyndie Stetsen.
 

Remember to be safe online. NEVER tell anyone personal information --- which includes your real name, age, address, phone number or school. Hey, pretend you are undercover when you go online and protect yourself at all times!

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