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November 2013

Kidsreads.com Newsletter for Parents November 2013
Preparing for the Holiday Season with BOOKS and Kidsreads.com

The holiday season is almost upon us! Just as soon as your kids get tired of thinking about Halloween costumes and candy --- who am I kidding, do they EVER really get tired of thinking about candy?! --- they begin to think about eating (again) for Thanksgiving (where I am sure it's "pass the turkey and pie and no more veggies please") and then about holiday presents --- and if you are lucky, giving presents as well. Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving this year, which means the holiday season stretches all the way from November 27th to December 25th.

When I was younger, I used to “escape” the family holiday chores by hiding away in my bedroom, reading. I don’t even know how many books I’ve read simply because they were the BEST excuse to avoid vacuuming, tidying and setting the table (the very worst). I'm not suggesting that your children shouldn't help you prepare for big meals and family gatherings, but, if they do decide to lock themselves away for a few breaks, there are plenty of books that will keep them busy.

We know that many kids have been waiting for one specific book for quite awhile…and now it’s here! Three cheers for HARD LUCK, the eighth book in Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series! Greg Heffley's on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg's life destined to be just another hard-luck story?

Are your sons and daughters big fans of graphic novels? Then they’ll want to check out EXPLORER: The Lost Islands by Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman and Jake Parker. This is the second anthology of stories from editor Kazu Kibuishi, who is best known as the creator of the Amulet series. The colors pop and the artwork sings throughout all seven stories featured in the book. John Hogan reviews, “I recommend it for kids and for anyone appreciative of the colorful creativity of this brilliant team of writers and artists.”

In Gregory HughesUNHOOKING THE MOON, Bob and his younger sister Marie Claire, aka the Rat, are orphaned when their father dies. Now, Bob is determined to find a better life for him and his sister in New York…but the only person they know there is their estranged uncle. But finding your uncle is nearly impossible if all you know about him is that he’s one of the city’s biggest drug dealers. Terry Miller Shannon writes, “UNHOOKING THE MOON is a delightful adventure story, off-kilter fairytale and a marvelous commentary on the strong emotional bonds between siblings. Bob and the Rat are endearing characters, the plot is engaging, and the pace is perfect.” Click here to view our special feature on this book.

After We Bought a Zoo came out a couple of years ago, many kids decided their lifelong ambition was to own a zoo of their own. If your children fall into this category, they might be especially interested in SAMMY FERAL’S DIARIES OF WEIRD by Eleanor Hawken and John Kelly. Sammy Feral's family runs a zoo filled with every creature both real and mythical, and now the entire family has been infected with a mysterious virus that causes them to turn into werewolves. Now his mom, dad and sisters are trying to infect Sammy! Worse, it seems there is an evil professor trying to take over the Feral Zoo --- could he have anything to do with the werewolf virus? Reviewer Sheena Kowalski says, “SAMMY FERAL’S DIARIES OF WEIRD is a spooky adventure and a fun story to solve. This book is great for middle grade readers because it is easy to read and has a great amount of illustrations.” And click here to read an interview with the author, Eleanor Hawken!

While you might be entranced by the lastest season of "The Walking Dead," award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi's latest book, ZOMBIE BASEBALL BEATDOWN, is perfect for younger zombie fans. In this atypical zombie thriller, three boys uncover some questionable practices at the local meatpacking plant and work toward preventing a zombie apocalypse. And we have an interview with the author! In this interview, Paolo Bacigalupi shares his inspiration for this story, his attack strategy for hunting zombies and his favorite disgusting packaged meat product. I loved this book, and the cover is delightfully gory --- it features a decapitated, rotting head flying straight at the readers, because a boy just hit it with a baseball bat!

Do your kids like to get creative? Encourage them to use their talents to enter our BATTLE BUNNY drawing contest! In honor of the release of the hilarious mash-up from Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers, we'd like to offer them the chance to create their very own BATTLE BUNNY and potentially win copies of the book. In BATTLE BUNNY, Alex is given a sappy book about a bunny's birthday, but decides to make it interesting by creating his own doomsday story on top of it. For this BATTLE BUNNY drawing contest, we'd like kids to grab pencils, sharpen their creativity and transform a page of the story by rewriting the text and drawing pictures over the accompanying illustration. We can't wait to see what they come up with! For more information on this contest, click here. The deadline for entries is Friday, December 6th at noon ET, so it's the perfect activity for them to do while they're still recovering from food comas the weekend after Thanksgiving!

It's starting to get cold here in New York --- we had our first snow yesterday, and entered the office in a disgruntled flurry of hats and gloves. It's going to cool down in movie theaters soon, too, as Frozen, Disney's adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's THE SNOW QUEEN, is coming to theaters at the end of the month. If your kids are fans of fairy tale adaptations, make sure to take them when it comes out on November 27th! Click here to view our November Books on Screen feature.

Because Hanukkah is at the end of this month, we’ve included our roundup of holiday books in our November newsletter! Here’s a collection of books that will certainly put your children in the mood for the season from now until December 25th. Click here to view our 2013 Holiday Books Roundup!

If you live in the Miami area, then you and your family are in for a treat! The 2013 Miami Book Fair International, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, takes place Sunday, November 17th through Sunday, November 24th with the Street Fair from Friday, November 22nd through Sunday, November 24th. We have the scoop on this year's kids and graphic novel programming! Click here to see which authors are speaking and what else is going on at the Miami Book Fair this year.

Lastly, we wanted to mention DOT, an adorable picture book by Randi Zuckerberg --- founder of Zuckerberg Media and sister to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg --- about a little girl who remembers why it's important (and fun!) to step away from phones, tablets and computers every once in awhile. We love all of the wordplay in this book, the playful illustrations and Dot's whimsical, spotty dress --- check out the cover above! While we (obviously) support online media, we love that DOT reminds kids that there are plenty of amazing things that exist beyond the screen.

And on a different note, I just wanted to let you all know that this is going to be my last newsletter to you all. I'm leaving my post here to go on to another children's publishing venture. But don't worry! You'll get to meet the next Kidsreads.com Editor, Shara Zaval (who I'm sure will be fabulous!), in the December newsletter. I've loved being able to geek out about kids’ lit with you all over the past year. Thank you all so much for reading!

Happy reading!

---Liz Kossnar (liz@bookreporter.com)

Now in Stores: HARD LUCK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book Eight by Jeff Kinney

HARD LUCK: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book Eight by Jeff Kinney (Fiction)
Greg Heffley's on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance. Will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg's life destined to be just another hard-luck story? Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Now in Stores: EXPLORER: The Lost Islands

EXPLORER: The Lost Islands by Kazu Kibuishi, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman and Jake Parker (Action Adventure)
The colors pop and the artwork sings throughout the seven stories featured in EXPLORER: THE LOST ISLANDS, the second anthology from editor Kazu Kibuishi (the creator behind the wonderful Amulet series). Kibuishi’s AMULET is known for these eye-grabbing splashes, which take full advantage of the spectrum of four-color creativity that comics allows, so it’s no surprise to see them on display here as well. Reviewed by John Hogan.

-Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.
Special Feature: UNHOOKING THE MOON by Gregory Hughes
UNHOOKING THE MOON by Gregory Hughes (Fiction)
Marie Claire, aka the Rat, is a dancing, soccer-loving and utterly fearless 10-year-old from the flatlands of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her older brother Bob is Protector of the Rat (but more often her follower). When their father dies and leaves them orphans, Bob is determined to build a new and better life for him and his sister in New York, home of their estranged uncle. But finding your uncle is nearly impossible if all you know about him is that he’s one the city’s biggest drug dealers. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review.
 
Click here to view our feature.
Special Feature and Interview: SAMMY FERAL’S DIARIES OF WEIRD by Eleanor Hawken and John Kelly

SAMMY FERAL’S DIARIES OF WEIRD by Eleanor Hawken and John Kelly (Fantasy)
Sammy Feral's family runs a zoo, but now the entire Feral family has been infected with a mysterious virus that causes them to turn into werewolves. Now his mom, dad and sisters are trying to infect Sammy! Worse, it seems there is an evil professor trying to take over the Feral Zoo --- could he have anything to do with the werewolf virus? Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.

-Click here to read a review.
-Click here to read an interview with Eleanor Hawken.

 

Click here to view our feature.
New Contest! Draw and Write Your Own Version of BATTLE BUNNY by Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers
In honor of the release of the hilarious mash-up from Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers, we'd like to offer you the chance to make your very own BATTLE BUNNY for a chance to win prizes! In BATTLE BUNNY, Alex is given a sappy book about a bunny's birthday, but decides to make it interesting by creating his own doomsday story on top of it.

For this contest, we'd like you to grab a pencil, sharpen your creativity and transform a page of this story!

Download the activity page, let your imagination roam and send your original creation to us along with filling out this form by Friday, December 6th by noon ET. You must send in both the completed activity sheet and fill out a form in order to be eligible to win.

More about BATTLE BUNNY:
Alex has been given a sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn’t interested --- until he decides to make the book something he’d actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, and Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny! The rabbit’s innocent journey through the forest morphs into a supersecret mission to unleash an evil plan --- a plan that only Alex can stop.
 
Click here to enter the contest.
Holiday Books Roundup 2013
Whether you are looking for stocking stuffers or just some new books to curl up and read on a cold, snowy day, this is the list for you. Here is a list of holiday books that we are sure will warm the hearts of readers both young and old.
 
Click here to view our 2013 Holiday Books roundup.
Books on Screen
With the temperature beginning to drop as winter approaches, you may be feeling cold...but are you frozen? Coming at the end of the month is Frozen, Disney's adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's THE SNOW QUEEN.

Frozen
Cast: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel and Alan Tudyk
Director: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: November 27th
Based on: THE SNOW QUEEN by Hans Christian Andersen

Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna's sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.
 
Click here to view our November Books on Screen.
The 30th Annual Miami Book Fair International
If you live in the Miami area, then you are in for a treat! The 30th Annual Miami Book Fair International takes place from Sunday, November 17th through Sunday, November 24th. The Street Fair happens from Friday, November 22nd through Sunday, November 24th and panels of authors are offered that Saturday and Sunday, as well. We have the scoop on this year's children's programming here and the graphic novel programming is here! If you are going to the Fair, let us know. We'd love to interview you!
 
Click here to read more about Miami Book Fair International.
November's New Picture Books Roundup
November's roundup of New Picture Books features DOT. by Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg, about learning to put down gadgets and engage with the world around you; Eric Carle's FRIENDS, which follows a boy's journey overcoming the pain of having his best friend move away; and RED KNIT CAP GIRL TO THE RESCUE by Naoko Stoop, where you can join Red Knit Cap Girl and her forest friends on a journey of curiosity, imagination, and joy as they search for a way to meet the Moon.
 
Click here to see November's New Picture Books roundup.
November’s Cool & New Books Roundup
November's roundup of Cool & New Books includes Jeff Kinney's eight Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, HARD LUCK where Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance --- will a roll of the dice turn things around, or is Greg's life destined to be just another hard-luck story?; John Flanagan's THE ROYAL RANGER: The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 12, in which the time has come for Will Treaty to take on an apprentice of his own, and it’s the last person he ever would have expected; and THE CREATURE DEPARTMENT by Robert Paul Weston, in which no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall of DENKi-3000...until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.
 
Click here to see November’s Cool & New Books roundup.
November's New in Paperback Roundup
November's roundup of New in Paperback includes HERE WHERE THE SUNBEAMS ARE GREEN by Helen Phillips, in which two sisters embark on a journey to Central America in order to find their dad with the help from new friends, all in order to get their family back together; Gordon Korman's HIDEOUT, where Griffin Bing and his friends protect a dog they'd rescued from his previous owner, Swindle, by using three hideouts to hide one very large dog; and CASTLE OF SHADOWS by Ellen Renner, in which 11-year-old princess Charlie embarks on a quest to find her mother and save the kingdom from revolution.
 
Click here to visit our November New in Paperback feature.
New and Upcoming Reviews

Check out these reviews that we just put up on Kidsreads.com!

THE SNOWMELT RIVER by Frank P. Ryan (Fantasy)
On the summit of the fabled mountain Slievenamon in Ireland, there is a doorway to an ancient land of terrible power. The gate of Feimhin has lain closed for centuries, the secret of its opening long lost. But now four orphans drawn together by Fate must pass through the portal to face their destinies. What they find beyond is the enchanted but war-ravaged world of Tír, a strange land peopled by beings of magic. Here death waits at every corner and they must learn to fight if they are to survive. Reviewed by Caroline Osborn.

BURIED BENEATH US: Discovering the Ancient Cities of the Americas written by Anthony Aveni and illustrated by Katherine Roy (Nonfiction)
You may think you know all of the American cities. But did you know that long before New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Boston ever appeared on the map --- thousands of years before Europeans first colonized North America --- other cities were here? In the pages of this book, you'll find the astonishing story of how they grew from small settlements to booming city centers --- and then crumbled into ruins. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

And just to entice you, here a few more that we'll put on the site in the next couple of weeks!

NICK AND TESLA'S HIGH-VOLTAGE DANGER LAB: A Mystery with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith (Science/Adventure)
Nick and Tesla are bright 11-year-old siblings with a knack for science, electronics and getting into trouble. When their parents mysteriously vanish, it’s not long before Nick and Tesla are embarking on adventures of their own --- engineering all kinds of outrageous MacGyverish contraptions to save their skin: 9-volt burglar alarms, electromagnets, mobile tracking devices and more. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE CREATURE DEPARTMENT by Robert Paul Weston (Adventure)
Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000 --- the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall. Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside. It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.

THE MESMER MENACE: Gadgets and Gears by Kersten Hamilton and James Hamilton (Action Adventure)
Welcome to the Amazing Automated Inn, home of 12-year-old inventor Wally Kennewickett, his genius scientist parents and his dashing dog, Noodles. The inn is a wonderful place for a curious boy and his loyal dog to live. That is, until President Theodore Roosevelt himself calls the elder Kennewicketts away, leaving Wally and Noodles to face the evil Mesmers, horrible hypnotists bent on controlling the minds of powerful people. Reviewed by Cyndie Stetsen.

HOW THE WORLD WORKS: Know It All, From How the Sun Shines to How the Pyramids Were Built by Clive Gifford (Nonfiction)
This essential book is brimming with information about pretty much everything! Encyclopedic in scope but fresh and exciting in presentation, this is a great-value, information packed book about the workings of the world. Detailed and eye-catching illustrations are paired with succinct, to-the-point text that explains the phenomena, processes and systems that affect our world and way of life. Reviewed by Kathleen Purcell.

SOPHIE HARTLEY AND THE FACTS OF LIFE by Stephanie Greene (Fiction)
Sophie Hartley, age 10, does not want to be a teenager. No, Sophie likes being who she is right now, helping out at home, doing art projects and hanging out with her two best friends. And next year Sophie's class will seethe movie about body changes, and her classmates are already buzzing about it. Sophie doesn't want to know about that embarrassing stuff yet. Does that mean she's immature? Reviewed by Caroline Osborn.


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