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August 2013

Kidsreads.com for Parents Newsletter August 2013
The End of Summer, But Not the End of Pleasure Reading!

It’s hard to believe summer is almost over! For some of you, school has started for your little ones. Others of you will be soon heading to the store for school supplies and helping the kiddies figure out what to wear on the first day of school. I’ll be the first to admit that back-to-school shopping was an annual tradition that I LOVED. New folders, matching notebooks, new pens, pencils, erasers and markers! You could say I was (and am) a super nerd. Back to school to me meant getting back to seeing my friends every day and getting one year closer to THE DREAM of attending high school. Regardless of how your children feel about the end of summer, August is filled with some incredible reads that will ease them through the transition from summer to fall. There’s something here for everyone!

But first, something for YOU. Starting next week, Bookreporter.com, our adult book website, will be running Fall Preview contests on select days in August and September. The first contest will be announced on Tuesday, August 20th at noon. So keep an eye out for this opportunity to win books for YOU to enjoy.

And now onto books for the little ones! For a memoir that will open your kids to the experiences of a young boy during World War II, pick up THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX by Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran and Elizabeth B. Leyson. Leon Leyson was only 10 years old when the Nazis invaded Poland, and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. With incredible luck, perseverance and grit, Leyson was able to survive the sadism of the Nazis through the generosity and cunning of a man named Oskar Schindler, by adding their names to his list of workers in his factory --- a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List. This, the only memoir published by a former Schindler’s List child, perfectly captures the innocence of a small boy who goes through the unthinkable. Carol read this novel and could not say enough about how moving this story is! Leon never lost hope…and this is a story you and your children will not soon forget. In fact, she is picking it as a Bookreporter.com Bets On selection!

Here's another compelling historical fiction book! In GHOST HAWK by Newbery medalist Susan Cooper, Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, and if he survives three moons by himself, he will be a man. John Wakely is only 10 years old when his father dies, but he’s already experienced the friendship of nearby tribes. When he begins his apprenticeship to a barrel-maker, he realizes how the relationship between colonists and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger. Anita Lock reviews, "Narrated by Little Hawk, GHOST HAWK is more than a story about the lives of two individuals during a horrific time in U.S. history. It is about following one’s convictions to stand up for truth and the risks involved in making those decisions."

An eccentric girl comes to terms with tragedy in Holly Goldberg Sloan’s COUNTING BY 7S. Willow Chance is a 12-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn't kept her from leading a quietly happy life...until now. I’ve heard so many great things about this book that I decided to read it and write its review. Look for that later this month!

In Amy Herrick’s THE TIME FETCH, Edward picks up what he thinks is a rock. He doesn’t know it is a sleeping Time Fetch --- and touching it will release its foragers and alter the entire fabric of time and space. Now it’s up to Edward and his classmates Feenix, Danton and Brigit to try and stop the foragers. The boundaries between worlds and dimensions are blurred, and places and creatures on the other side are much like the ones they’ve always known --- but slightly twisted, a little darker and much more dangerous. This is another book that I heard so much about and will review.

The only family member who hasn’t broken a world record may be the only one able to save the family. THE FANTASTIC FAMILY WHIPPLE by Matthew Ward follows Arthur Whipple, whose 12 brothers and sisters have won 49,521 records. Unfortunately, unlike his siblings, Arthur hasn’t broken a single, solitary world record. But when the Whipples suffer a spate of catastrophes, Arthur might be the only one who can save his family from losing their collective crown...or worse. Looks like winning isn’t everything!

Something to note: COUNTING BY 7S, THE TIME FETCH and THE FANTASTIC FAMILY WHIPPLE were all Middle Grade Buzz Book Selections at BookExpo America, the annual book trade conference, selected by a panel of industry professionals as books to look out for. I wasn't kidding when I said this month is BIG!

How hungry would your kids have to be to eat things not normally classified as food? Green bean and spinach jokes aside... NATHAN HALE’S CAUTIONARY TALES: DONNER DINNER PARTY by Nathan Hale gives a depiction of the struggles the Donner Party went through as they headed to the West in this graphic novel. From the preparation for the journey to each disastrous leg of the trip, this book shows the specific bad decisions that led to the party’s predicament in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Reviewer Sally M. Tibbetts says, “Nathan Hale does not hold back in his depictions of their grim story. His pictures are beautifully rendered and appealing, even when they show horrible experiences.”

We have updated our Infinity Ring series feature! The fifth book in the series is CAVE OF WONDERS by Matthew J. Kirby, in which Europe is in the grip of the Dark Ages, but there is a light in the dark: Baghdad. But danger lurks in the desert...and Dak, Sera, and Riq must act fast to save the world's greatest library from utter destruction. Click here to see the other books in the Infinity Ring series!

How excited is your family that the second Percy Jackson movie is in theaters!? Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters adapted from Rick Riordan’s THE SEA OF MONSTERS, follows Percy Jackson and his friends as they go on a journey to the Seas of Monsters to retrieve the Golden Fleece and save Camp Half-Blood. To read more about this movie, visit our August Books on Screen feature!

For those of you who still have younger children around or love looking at picture books, we have a roundup of picture books to help you find a new favorite. I have to tell you, that when I’m in a bookstore, I ALWAYS stop at the picture books first --- I love how words and pictures can work together to make one complete story. What do you think? Click here to see August's New Picture Books roundup! And also share this new feature with your family and friends.

Yesterday we heard about a 13-year-old boy who recently signed a contract to write two books for Penguin Books for Young Readers. Pretty nice! Jake Marcionette started writing these books when he was 12 --- so if your child is a writer, it could happen! The first book in his series, Just Jake, about a sixth grader trying to establish his social life at a new school, will be published in February 2014. How remarkable would it be for your child to go back to school and share he or she got a book deal in their “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay? Nice to see! Click here to read more about Jake Marcionette and his upcoming book.

And the shortlist for the Guardian children’s fiction prize has been announced! This award --- which has been running since 1967 but only began letting in non-UK writers last year --- has four books on its shortlist and half are by American authors. The books are THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green (a young adult book), LIAR & SPY by Rebecca Stead, THE BOY WHO SWAM WITH PIRANHAS by David Almond and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and ROOFTOPPERS by Katherine Rundell. The winner will be announced in October, and we’ll be sure to let you know the winner when it is announced!

For those whose kids have a little summer left, make sure to help them take advantage of the vacation time they have left for pleasure reading! But for those whose kids are already back in school, keeping some time set aside each day for reading will help them maintain pleasure reading throughout the school year. I'm sure that these August books will encourage kids in and out of school to pick up a book and read.

Here’s to a great beginning to the school year!

--- Liz Kossnar (liz@bookreporter.com)
Now in Stores: THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX by Leon Leyson

THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX by Leon Leyson, Marilyn J. Harran, and Elisabeth B. Leyson (Memoir)
Leon Leyson (born Leib Lezjon) was only 10 years old when the Nazis invaded Poland and his family was forced to relocate to the Krakow ghetto. Ultimately, it was the generosity and cunning of one man named Oskar Schindler, who saved Leon Leyson’s life, and the lives of his mother, his father and two of his four siblings, by adding their names to his list --- a list that became world renowned: Schindler’s List. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

- Click here to read more about the book.
 

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: GHOST HAWK by Susan Cooper

GHOST HAWK by Susan Cooper (Historical Fiction)
Colonial settler John Wakely is only 10 when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

- Click here for more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: COUNTING BY 7S by Holly Goldberg Sloan

COUNTING BY 7S by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Fiction)
Willow Chance is a 12-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn't kept her from leading a quietly happy life...until now. Reviewed by Liz Kossnar.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: THE TIME FETCH by Amy Herrick

THE TIME FETCH by Amy Herrick (Adventure)
Edward picks up what he thinks is a rock. He doesn’t know it is a sleeping Time Fetch --- and touching it will release its foragers too soon and alter the entire fabric of time and space. Reviewed by Liz Kossnar.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: THE FANTASTIC FAMILY WHIPPLE by Matthew Ward

THE FANTASTIC FAMILY WHIPPLE by Matthew Ward (Fiction)
Arthur Whipple's twelve brothers and sisters have won 49,521 records. Unfortunately, unlike his siblings, Arthur hasn’t broken a single, solitary world record! But when the Whipples suffer a spate of catastrophes, Arthur might be the only one who can save his family from losing their collective crown...or worse. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: NATHAN HALE'S HAZARDOUS TALES: DONNER DINNER PARTY by Nathan Hale

NATHAN HALE'S HAZARDOUS TALES: DONNER DINNER PARTY by Nathan Hale (Historical Fiction/Graphic Novel)
The Donner Party expedition is one of the most notorious stories in all of American history. It’s also a fascinating snapshot of the westward expansion of the United States, and the families and individuals who sacrificed so much to build new lives in a largely unknown landscape. The graphic novel focuses on the struggles of the Reed family to tell the true story of the catastrophic journey. Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts.

- Click here to read more about the book.
 

Click here to read a review.

 
Series Update: INFINITY RING, Book Five, CAVE OF WONDERS by Matthew J. Kirby

INFINITY RING, Book Five, CAVE OF WONDERS by Matthew J. Kirby (Action Adventure)
Europe is in the grip of the Dark Ages, but there is a light in the dark: Baghdad. The great city has become a center of learning, populated by scholars, merchants, and explorers from all across the known world. But danger lurks in the desert...and Dak, Sera, and Riq must act fast to save the world's greatest library from utter destruction.


- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to view the series feature.

 
New Feature! August's New Picture Books
August's roundup of New Picture Books features TAP THE MAGIC TREE by Christie Matheson, which begins with a bare brown tree, but tap that tree, turn the page, and one bright green leaf has sprouted!; Marla Frazee's THE BOSS BABY, in which the boss baby is used to getting his way, but when his demands aren't getting the proper responses, he has to go to new lengths to achieve the attention he deserves; and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 3: PLANET OF PIES by Judi Barrett and illustrated by Isidre Mones, where news reports about the possibility of pie filling on the surface of Mars pique the children’s interest, and Grandpa dreams of a trip to the red planet, where the locals have more pie than they can handle.
Click here to visit August's New Picture Books feature.


 
August's Books on Screen: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters

You've been waiting and now it's finally here! Hitting theaters this August, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, the movie adaptation of Rick Riordan's THE SEA OF MONSTERS, follows Percy Jackson and his friends as they go on a journey to the Sea of Monsters to retrieve the Golden Fleece and save Camp Half-Blood.

In Theaters:

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
Cast: Logan Lerman, Alexandra Daddario, Nathan Fillion
Director: Thor Freudenthal
Distributor: Fox 2000 Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: August 7th (wide)
Based On: THE SEA OF MONSTERS: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book Two by Rick Riordan

In this retelling of Rick Riordan's book, THE SEA OF MONSTERS, Percy Jackson, accompanied by his friends Annabeth Chase, Clarisse La Rue and Tyson, his half brother, goes on a journey to the Sea of Monsters to retrieve the Golden Fleece and save Camp Half-Blood.

Click here to view our Books on Screen feature!

 
Cool & New Books for August
August's roundup of Cool & New Books includes THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX by Leon Leyson with Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth Leyson, where Leon Leyson tells his own tale about being the youngest child on Schindler's List during World War II; Amy Herrick's THE TIME FETCH, in which Edward picks up what he thinks is a rock, which is actually a sleeping Time Fetch --- and touching it will release its foragers too soon and alter the entire fabric of time and space; and Matthew Ward's THE FANTASTIC FAMILY WHIPPLE, where Arthur Whipple is the only member of his family who hasn't broken a single, solitary world record, but after a series of catastrophes, Arthur may be the only Whipple who can save his family from losing their collective crown...or worse.
Click here to see August's Cool & New Books roundup.

 
August’s New in Paperback Roundup
August's roundup of New in Paperback includes LIAR & SPY by Rebecca Stead, in which seventh grader Georges moves into a Brooklyn apartment building, meets Safer, a 12-year-old self-appointed spy, and becomes Safer's first spy recruit; Emily Rodda's THE GOLDEN DOOR, where Rye is too young to become a Volunteer to fight the ferocious flying creatures that raid the walled city of Weld in the night, but his brothers are among the lost and he must find them; and a special movie tie-in edition of THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM --- 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis, where the Watson family decides to take a trip to visit Grandma and heads to Birmingham, Alabama, toward one of the darkest moments in America's history.
Click here to see August’s New in Paperback roundup.

 
This Month’s Reviews

THE LOST KINGDOM by Matthew J. Kirby (Historical Fantasy)
In this extraordinary adventure story, Billy Bartram, his father, and a secret society of philosophers and scientists venture into the American wilderness in search of the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc, seeking aid in the coming war against the French. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

THE TREASURE OF WAY DOWN DEEP by Ruth White (Paranormal Mystery)
When Ruby Jolene Hurley sees the shadow of her dead pet goat Jethro dancing on his grave, that's the first hint that something strange is going on in Way Down Deep. Ruby thinks the answer to their problems is the treasure that Archibald Ward, the town's founder, supposedly buried more than two hundred years ago. Most people say the treasure is just a myth, but Ruby is determined to prove the naysayers wrong and save the day. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

AL CAPONE DOES MY HOMEWORK by Gennifer Choldenko (Historical Fiction)
Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn't the most normal place to grow up, but it's home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. After a fire starts in the Flanagans' apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. If Moose can't figure out what Capone's note means, it may be too late. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

LISTENING FOR LUCCA by Suzanne LaFleur (Historical Fantasy)
"I'm obsessed with abandoned things." Siena's obsession began a year and a half ago, around the time her two-year-old brother Lucca stopped talking. When Siena writes in her diary with an old pen she found in her closet, the pen writes its own story, of Sarah and Joshua, a brother and sister who lived in the same house during World War II. As the two stories unfold, Siena senses that Sarah and Joshua's story might contain the key to unlocking Lucca's voice. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

ANNA WAS HERE by Jane Kurtz (Fiction)
Ten-year-old Anna Nickel is moving from Colorado to Kansas, and she is not happy about leaving her friends behind! This is a moving, often humorous coming-of-age story about family, faith, God's love, and the meaning of home, perfect for fans of Katherine Paterson and THE PENDERWICKS. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

GOBLINS by Philip Reeve (Fantasy)
The squabbling goblins that live in the great towers of Clovenstone spend their time fighting and looting. Only clever young Skarper (who happens to be in exile) understands that dark magic created by a vanquished sorcerer is rising again. With the help of a wannabe-hero, a middle-aged princess, and a few bumbling wizards, Skarper must fight to save their world. Reviewed by Cyndie Stetsen.

THE SURPRISE ATTACK OF JABBA THE PUPPETT: An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angleberger (Fantasy)
Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight’s back --- and not a moment too soon, as the gang faces the FunTime Menace: a new educational program designed to raise students’ standardized test scores. When Principal Rabbski cancels the students’ field trip --- along with art, music, and LEGO classes --- to make time for FunTime, the students turn to Origami Yoda for help. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

POPTROPICS: MYTHOLOGY #1 by Tracey West (Mythology)
Many of the Poptropica islands feature stories based around different Mythologies, but what’s presented on the screen is far from the whole story. This 64-page nonfiction book introduces kids to the bigger world of Mythology in a fun and engaging way. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

PI IN THE SKY by Wendy Mass (Science Fiction)
Joss comes from a family of overachievers, and is happy to let his older brothers shine. But when Earth suddenly disappears, Joss is tasked with the not-so-simple job of bringing it back. With the help of an outspoken girl from Earth named Annika, Joss embarks on the adventure of a lifetime and learns that the universe is an even stranger place than he'd imagined. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

FALCON IN THE GLASS by Susan Fletcher (Fantasy)
In Venice in 1487, the secrets of glassblowing are guarded jealously. Renzo, a 12-year-old laborer in a glassworks, has just a few months to prepare for a test of his abilities, and no one to teach him. If he passes, he will qualify as a skilled glassblower, his murdered father's greatest wish for him. If he fails, he will be expelled from the glassworks and left without means of supporting him mother and sister. Reviewed by Carly Silver.
 


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