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March 2014 Newsletter for Parents March 2014
Spring Break = Spring Books!

Hello readers, and happy almost spring!

Now that it’s March, the first day of spring is around the corner...and for some of you, that means your kids are getting revved up for spring break! (For those of you whose children are already in the middle of it --- hope you are having a great time. And for those who have a few more weeks to go… I can only imagine the hectic anticipation in your house!) Whether your family plans to spend the week at home or traveling to an exotic locale, we know that your children will definitely need a good book --- or two or three --- to read with their extra time.

Personally, I always associate books with the places where I read them. For instance, even though I remember little about my first grade spring break trip to Puerto Rico --- besides throwing up in the rain forest (not fun) and having an ongoing newt-counting contest with my sister --- I have a distinct vision of lounging on a beach chair at sunset, reading the latest Goosebumps book by the ocean. I was wearing an oversized, neon pink baseball cap, so all of the book’s pages were tinged with a rosy glow.

I’ll forever associate ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE with the smell of Indian cooking, since I read it while studying abroad in Bangalore and always snuck in a few pages between school and a mouthwatering meal of biryani and potato masala, and THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES will remind me of a cozy hostel in the Isle of Skye, Scotland (on that trip I also ate scones at The Elephant House in Edinburgh, the elephant-themed café where J.K. Rowling wrote HARRY POTTER. Let’s just say I could feel greatness --- and magic --- in the air).

Anyway, your kids are in luck, because plenty of good reads recently hit the shelves to make vacation memories with. As a small sampler:

  • Reviewer Sarah Rachel Egelman says that the latest Origami Yoda book PRINCESS LABELMAKER TO THE RESCUE is “laugh out loud funny and super smart”
  • Our intern Corinne Fox calls NICK AND TESLA’S ROBOT ARMY RAMPAGE “a kooky book… sure to intrigue with the mystery storyline and excite with the presence of science [and] robots.”
  • Reviewer Anita Lock says that Marjorie Agosin has produced “an all-time classic” with I LIVED ON BUTTERFLY HILL
  • Abbe Wright --- who is a book editor at O, the Oprah Magazine when she is not writing for us --- said that AVA AND PIP’s protagonist Ava “will stick with readers even after they’ve reached the final page.”

And of course, if you’re in more of a “classic book” mood this March, make sure you enter our HARRIET THE SPY or Shel Silverstein contests (less than a week left!) --- you might be able to win some FREE copies of these timeless tales!

So read on to learn more about these contests and all the great things happening at Kidsreads. We also have details for YOU about our Spring Preview daily contests on, which are daily contests for adult book lovers!

And with that, happy spring, vacation, relaxation, sunshine, books, bunnies and all of that other seasonal goodness!

--- Shara Zaval (

PS: Mark your calendars for May 17th --- that’s Indie’s First Storytime Day, and authors will be reading out loud at independent bookstores around the country. Yet another “spring thing” to look forward to! We will have more about this in our next newsletter.

Interview with Carol Weston, Author of AVA AND PIP
Carol Weston has been an advice columnist at Girls’ Life magazine for 20 years, so she’s received her fair share of letters from kids seeking advice on everything from family problems to friends to boys to shyness. It’s the last topic that she chose to tackle in her new book, AVA AND PIP, which follows the spunky, 10-year-old Ava and her painfully shy older sister, Pip. Ava will do anything she can to get attention from her parents and help Pip break out of her shell…but she has a lesson or two to learn herself, too. Read O, The Oprah Magazine Magazine Assistant Book Editor Abbe Wright’s interview with Carol below, and learn more about the book, Carol’s advice for kids who feel shy and Carol’s childhood writing habits.
Click here to read the interview!

Interview with Jimmy Gownley, author of THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER!
For Jimmy Gownley, life after Amelia Rules! looks a lot like life before it. Gownley ended his much-beloved YA graphic novel series after 2012’s HER PERMANENT RECORD, and now he’s back with a brand-new book, THE DUMBEST IDEA EVER! In this one, he draws on his own personal experience, detailing his difficult transition from grade school --- where he was tops in his class, both academically and on the basketball court --- to high school, where illness and increased academic pressures took their toll. Jimmy’s solution to his falling social status? Create his own comic book! Read our interview with Jimmy to learn the story behind his big IDEA, plus what it's like to end a series after working on it for so long and advice he has for aspiring cartoonists.
Click here to read the full interview!

Harriet the Spy 50th Anniversary Contest --- Ends This Wednesday, the 19th!
There are plenty of great spies in fiction --- The Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, just to name a few. But one of our very favorites is Harriet M. Welsch from HARRIET THE SPY, the girl who walks around her New York City neighborhood every afternoon with her top secret spy notebook, recording her neighbors' activities and thoughtfully munching on a tomato sandwich.

Although Harriet herself will forever be 11 years old, the book HARRIET THE SPY is actually turning 50 this February! At Kidsreads, we're celebrating by giving away FIVE copies of HARRIET THE SPY: 50th Anniversary Edition, which includes the original story, a map of Harriet's New York City neighborhood and spy route, tributes by such authors as Judy Blume and Lois Lowry and copies of letters between the editor and author.

For this contest, your kids have from today until this Wednesday, March 19th at noon to answer the question "what literary character would you spy on, and why?" The winning answers will get a copy of the book, and we'll post our top 10 favorites on the site.

Good luck!
Click here to enter the contest!

Spring Preview Contest on

At Kidsreads we have some great books to share with your young ones, but we know that YOU probably want some books to read too --- especially if they're free! Therefore, see below for information on the Spring Preview Contest on, which is currently in full swing! If you're interested in learning more about what's happening on Bookreporter, you can sign up for that newsletter here.

Spring Preview
Spring is in the air (or will be very soon)! We’ve already caught the fever --- and it’s being fueled by a list of great upcoming books! Here are some picks that we know people will be talking about over the next few months. We will be hosting a number of 24-hour contests for these titles on select days through March 20th. You will need to check the site to see the featured book and enter to win. We also will be sending a special newsletter to announce each title, which you can sign up for here.

Our latest prize book is THE OTHER TYPIST by Suzanne Rindell. To enter to win one of five copies, please fill out this form by tomorrow, March 14th at noon ET.

This year's featured titles include the following:


Click here to enter our Spring Preview contest!

Shel Silverstein 50th Anniversary Contest --- Ends this Tuesday, March 18th!

While Kidsreads is hosting the HARRIET THE SPY contest, we also think you'll be interested in another great contest on 20somethingreads --- The Shel Silverstein Anniversary contest, which runs until Tuesday, March 18th at noon ET !

Like HARRIET THE SPY, some of Silverstein's books are celebrating important anniversaries this month, including THE GIVING TREE (50) and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (40). To win a copy of these two books, along with DON’T BUMP THE GLUMP! 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, A GIRAFFE AND A HALF 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION and LAFCADIO, THE LION WHO SHOT BACK 50th ANNIVERSARY EDITION, you or your kids just have to write a short poem. The top two poems + our 10 favorites will be posted on the site. So gather your kids, and start rhyming!


Click here to enter the Shel Silverstien Contest!

Quirky Celebrations --- Bunsen Burner Day!

March 31st is Bunsen Burner Day! This holiday celebrates the birthday of the German scientist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen, who invented --- you guessed it --- the Bunsen burner, a single-flame torch which is great for heating and sterilizing...and with which your kids will become very familiar in future chemistry classes. We couldn't find any recent kids' books that prominently feature this amazing tool's namesake, so we thought we'd celebrate Bunsen Burner Day by focusing on ANOTHER scientist who's popping up all over kid lit recently --- Nikola Tesla!

TESLA'S ATTIC by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman follows Nick, a 14-year-old who sold a bunch of knickknacks from the attic of his new house only to realize that they were Nikola Tesla's final inventions and that he has to retrieve them before they fall into the wrong hands. In the latest installment in the Nick and Tesla series, NICK AND TESLA'S ROBOT ARMY RAMPAGE by "Science Bob" Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith, twins Nick and Tesla are determined to catch the person behind the recent robberies in their town, but they need to build a host of gadgets and gizmos to do it. Read the reviews below, and pick up the books themselves to celebrate Tesla, Bunsen and all of the world-renowned scientists out there!


Click here to read the whole feature!

Now in Stores: PRINCESS LABELMAKER TO THE RESCUE! by Tom Angelberger

PRINCESS LABELMAKER TO THE RESCUE! An Origami Yoda Book by Tom Angelberger (Juvenile Fiction)

At McQuarrie Middle School, the war against the FunTime Menace --- aka test prep --- wages on. Our heroes have one battle under their belts, and they’ve even found a surprising ally in Jabba the Puppett. But to defeat the Dark Standardized Testing Forces they’re going to need an even bigger, even more surprising ally: Principal Rabbski. But with great forces --- aka the school board --- pushing her from above, will the gang’s former enemy don a finger puppet and join the Rebellion --- or will her transformation to Empress Rabbski, Dark Lord of the Sith, be complete?

- Click here to learn more about the book.

Click here to read the review!

Now in Stores: I LIVED ON BUTTERFLY HILL by Marjorie Agosin

I LIVED ON BUTTERFLY HILL by Marjorie Agosin (Historical Fiction)

Celeste Marconi is a dreamer. She lives peacefully among friends and neighbors and family in the idyllic town of Valparaiso, Chile --- until the time comes when even Celeste, with her head in the clouds, can’t deny the political unrest that is sweeping through the country. Warships are spotted in the harbor and schoolmates disappear from class without a word. Celeste doesn’t quite know what is happening, but one thing is clear: no one is safe, not anymore.

- Click here to learn more about the book.

Click here to read the review!

Children's Choice Book Awards --- Voting Starts March 25!

From Tuesday, March 25 to Monday, May 12, 2014, you'l have the chance to vote for your favorite author, illustrator and book of the year as part of the Children's Choice Book Awards! We've listed the finalists below, so you can decide who to pick before voting at in a couple of weeks!

Illustrator of the Year
Oliver Jeffers, THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT (Philomel)
Victoria Kann, EMERALDALICIOUS (HarperCollins)
James Dean, PETE THE CAT: THE WHEELS ON THE BUS (HarperCollins)
Grace Lee, SOFIA THE FIRST: THE FLOATING PALACE (Disney Press)Author of the Year
Rick Riordan, THE HOUSE OF HADES (HEROES OF OLYMPUS, BOOK 4) (Disney/Hyperion)
Veronica Roth, ALLEGIANT (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins)

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year
THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)
MUSTACHE BABY by Bridget Heos, Illustrated by Joy Ang (Clarion/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
ALPHABET TRUCKS by Samantha R. Vamos, Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke (Charlesbridge)
BEAR AND BEE by Sergio Ruzzier (Disney/Hyperion)
CHAMELIA AND THE NEW KID IN CLASS by Ethan Long (Little, Brown)

Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year
BEAN DOG AND NUGGET: THE BALL by Charise Mericle Harper (Knopf)
COUGAR by Stephen Person (Bearport Publishing)
THE MATCHBOX DIARY by Paul Fleischman, Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline (Candlewick)
BUGS IN MY HAIR! by David Shannon (Blue Sky/Scholastic)

Fifth to Sixth Grade Book of the Year
PRINCE PUGGLY OF SPUD by Robert Paul Weston (Razorbill)
LAWLESS: BOOK 1 by Jeffrey Salane (Scholastic)
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS MYTHS BUSTED! by Emily Krieger, Illustrated by Tom Nick Cocotos (National Geographic Children’s Books)
HOKEY POKEY by Jerry Spinelli (Knopf)
BATTLING BOY by Paul Pope (First Second)

Teen Book of the Year
ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins)
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Press)
CLOCKWORK PRINCESS (THE INFERNAL DEVICES) by Cassandra Clare (Margaret K. McElderry/S&S)
SMOKE by Ellen Hopkins (Margaret K. McElderry/S&S)
THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey (Putnam)


March's New Picture Books Roundup

Our March picture book roundup includes STRIPES OF ALL TYPES/Rayas de todas las tallas by Susan Stockdale, a bilingual look at stripes in nature; THE SCRAPS BOOK: Notes from a Colorful Life by CHIKA CHIKA BOOM BOOM illustrator Lois Ehlert, which takes young ones on a colorful, gorgeous tour of the book-making process; and TROLL SWAP by Leigh Hodgkinson, where a messy little girl and a well-behaved troll come up with a master plan.

Click here to see March's New Picture Books roundup!

March’s Cool & New Books Roundup
Our March roundup includes PRINCESS LABELMAKER TO THE RESCUE!, the latest installment in Tom Angleberger’s Origami Yoda series, where the kids at McQuarrie Middle School are waging a war against test prep; AVA AND PIP by Girls’ Life columnist Carol Weston, about two sisters who couldn’t be more different; and STAY WHERE YOU ARE AND THEN LEAVE by John Boyne, which follows a boy who discovers his missing father is in a hospital suffering from shell shock during World War I.

Click here to see March’s Cool & New Books roundup!
March's New in Paperback Roundup
Among the paperback titles released this month, we have ROOM 214: A Year in Poems by Helen Frost, which features a wide array of poems by fifth-grade students, interwoven with stories about their class; EMILY WINDSNAP AND THE LAND OF THE MIDNIGHT SUN by Liz Kessler, the latest book in the New York Times best-selling Emily Windsnap series about mermaids; and FLYING THE DRAGON by Natalie Dias Lorenzi, which follows two cousins in alternating chapters; Skye, who was born in the U.S. and doesn’t think much about her half-Japanese identity, and Hiroshi, who suddenly moves to the U.S. from Japan with his grandfather.


Click here to visit our March New in Paperback feature!
New Reviews!

Check out these reviews that we just put up on!

LORD AND LADY BUNNY: Almost Royalty! written by Polly Horvath, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (Youth Fiction)
Madeleine’s family unexpectedly inherits a sweet shoppe in England, and Mr. and Mrs. Bunny also head across the pond, where Mrs. Bunny decides she wants to be queen!

SCHOOL OF CHARM written by Lisa Ann Scott (Youth Fantasy/Fiction)
When 11-year-old Chip’s daddy dies, she hopes to win a beauty pageant to show her family of southern belles that she still belongs, but can a rough-and-tumble girl ever become a beauty queen?

KNIGHTLEY AND SON written by Rohan Gavin (Youth Mystery Fiction)
Detective Alan Knightley just woke up after a four-year coma, and during the time his son Darkus read of all his old cases. Soon they find themselves caught up in a conspiracy, and Darkus might just have to solve this mystery by himself.

COLONEL THEODORE ROOSEVELT written by David A. Adler (Youth Biography)
A portrait of the man who grew from a sickly child into a passionate conservationist, skilled outdoorsman and Nobel Peace Prize-winning mediator, as well as one of the U.S.'s most colorful and energetic presidents.

THE DAY MY FATHER BECAME A BUSH written by Joke van Leeuwen (Youth Fiction)
Toda's father has gone away to fight in the war, where he hides from the enemy by disguising himself as a bush. Toda is sent to stay with her mother where it will be safer. Her journey across the border is full of danger and adventure, but she doesn't give up.

CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG OVER THE MOON written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, illustrated by Joe Berger (Youth Fiction)
Somebody’s stolen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and left the Tootings in 1966, and Little Harry’s been kidnapped by the thief. The Tootings must find the Potts --- the family that originally built Chitty --- to rescue Little Harry and Chitty, but a fiendish criminal has plans that involve flying Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to the moon and putting an explosive scheme into action.

AVA AND PIP written by Carol Weston (Fiction)
Outgoing Ava loves her older sister, Pip, but can't understand why Pip is so reserved and never seems to make friends with others. When Ava uses her writing talents to help her sister overcome her shyness, both girls learn the impact their words and stories can have on the world around them.

THE MENAGERIE: Dragon on Trial written by T. T. Sutherland (Youth Fantasy)
Someone or something has murdered the goose who laid the golden eggs, and the evidence points to a dragon named Scratch. But this mystery won’t be that easy to solve.

A WOMAN IN THE HOUSE (AND SENATE): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country written by Ilene Cooper (Nonfiction)
Beginning with the women’s suffrage movement and going all the way through the results of the 2012 election, Ilene Cooper deftly covers more than a century of U.S. history in order to highlight the influential and diverse group of female leaders who opened doors for women in politics and the nation as a whole.

POEM DEPOT: Aisles of Smiles written by Douglas Florian (Youth Poetry)
Artist, poet, and award-winning author Douglas Florian successfully captures the comedy of kids’ everyday lives with this jam-packed volume of 170 nonsense poems.

PAINTING THE RAINBOW written by Amy Gordon (Historical Fiction)
In this poignant middle-grade novel taking place over the summer of 1965, Holly and her cousin Ivy discover family secrets no one has spoken of since World War II involving a terrifying accident, their Uncle Jesse's death in a Japanese Internment camp and a boy named Kiyo.

THE FINISHER written by David Baldacci (Fiction)
Nobody ever left the village of Wormwood before Quentin Herms vanishes. Vega Jane knows Quentin was chased, and he's left a dangerous trail of clues only she can decode. But just as deadly are the threats within Wormwood, a place built on lies, where influential people are willing to kill to keep secrets. Vega is determined to uncover the truth --- but the closer she gets, the more she risks her life.

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!

Keep reading!

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