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September 2013

Kidsreads.com Newsletter September 2013
Lovin' that Autumn Feeling with Kidsreads.com

Autumn is in the air though it’s still hard to believe it’s almost here. For us in the Northeast, a chill in weather has encouraged just about everyone to break out their sweaters and boots in preparation of the leaves changing color and the days getting shorter. For me, this gradual fall chill always reminds me of volleyball season --- my team would always start practicing when it was still a muggy August and the season would continue through October when the chill was fully instituted. And I’m excited to say I’m reliving this feeling because I’ve started coaching for the very first time! I absolutely love the team and everyone has started settling into the routine between practices and school.

How about you? What reminds you of the fall season? Maybe it’s playing a sport, falling into your routine at school, going apple picking, starting to plan out your Halloween costume or even coming home from school to read some great books. We at Kidsreads.com want to make your fall feel even more fun with some contests, author interviews and reviews of spectacular books out this September that we have just for you.

Before we get to the books, let’s have some fun with contests! If you are a fan of dogs and reading about World War II, you’ll definitely want to enter to win a copy of DUKE by Kirby Larson. In this historical fiction novel, 11-year-old Hobie Hanson is determined to do his part to help his family and country during WWII, even if it means giving up his beloved German shepherd, Duke. To enter to win one of 15 copies of DUKE, fill out this form by Monday, September 30th at noon ET. Those of you who saw --- or read --- WAR HORSE will want to see how dogs helped in WWII like horses were a bit part of World War I.

Are you a fan of Wendelin Van Draanen’s Sammy Keyes series? Well, we have your chance at winning a signed copy of the next-to-last book in the series (called the penultimate book for any of you who'd like a new vocabulary word!), SAMMY KEYES AND THE KILLER CRUISE. In this novel, Sammy knew that getting to know her new dad on a cruise would be a little uncomfortable...But when an heiress disappears from the ship, it turns out everyone's in for a rocky ride. Five readers will have the opportunity to win a signed copy of this mystery. To enter the contest, fill out this form by Wednesday, October 16th at noon ET. We’ve been Sammy Keyes fans for years…this is the 17th book in the series and for those of you who have not read Sammy Keyes books before, this is a really nice way to get started!

And now to this month’s books! Newbery medalist Neil Gaiman redeems a father’s passive actions from THE DAY I SWAPPED MY DAD FOR TWO GOLDFISH in FORTUNATELY, THE MILK. In this adventure, a father leaves the house to go buy milk so that his children can have their breakfast cereal. And you won’t believe the adventure he goes on while performing this chore, which are delightfully illustrated by Skottie Young. Reviewer Sarah Rachel Egelman writes, “Thoughtful readers, like the thoughtful brother and sister, may doubt the veracity of the father’s claims, but it is hard not to be swept up in the fun and fantastic storytelling.”

In Katherine Rundell’s ROOFTOPPERS, an orphan girl is convinced her mother is still alive and travels to Paris to find out the truth about the shipwreck in which they were separated. With welfare agents and French authorities on her trail, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers --- urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother --- but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Emma Kantor reviews, “Against the picturesque backdrop of the City of Light, orphans endure hunger and homelessness. But Sophie and her resilient friends are rewarded for their grit. ROOFTOPPERS earns its ending. All I will say is that the final tableau left me breathless.”

Ready for a laugh? Kate DiCamillo’s FLORA AND ULYSSES: The Illustrated Adventures follows a unique squirrel and the girl who saves its life. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic, Flora Belle Buckman, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight and misspelled poetry --- and that Flora will be changed, too. Keep an eye out for Olivia Swomley’s review of this hilarious novel that is also partly illustrated like a graphic novel!

MISTER MAX: The Book of Lost Things, written by Newbery Medalist Cynthia Voigt and illustrated by Iacopo Bruno, is the beginning to a hilarious historical fiction series. Max's parents are missing. They are actors, and thus unpredictable, but sailing away, leaving Max with only a cryptic note, is unusual even for them. Did they intend to leave him behind? Have they been kidnapped? Norah Piehl explains, “In addition to being a historical novel (set during the early years of the 20th century), this is also a humorous, tongue-in-cheek kind of story and a genuinely suspenseful mystery novel.” It looks like there’s a lot to love with this new series!

James Patterson is an author who needs no introduction. Frequently on bestseller lists for both adult and children's books, he's known for writing great stories. But did you know about his efforts to get children reading and that he’s coming out with a new middle grade series, Treasure Hunters, with Chris Grabenstein? We are lucky to have TWO interviews with this famous author AND an exclusive 10-minute clip of the TREASURE HUNTERS audiobook, narrated by the talented Bryan Kennedy. Skip down to the bottom of this newsletter for more information!

One of my FAVORITE series of all time is Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series, originally published as adult books in the 1990s but would now be considered young adult books. You can only imagine how absolutely THRILLED I was to find out that McCafferty decided to bring back Jessica Darling in her new middle grade series, Jessica Darling’s IT List. And I got a chance to ask the author a few questions about this new series! In this interview, Megan McCafferty explains why she wanted to bring Jessica Darling back, tells some embarrassing middle school stories and shares her own tips on surviving middle school.

Need an escape from the recent phenomenon of “schoolwork” you may find yourself buried under? Then head to the theater to see great movie adaptations of some of your favorite books. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up just where the first animated adventure left off. And if you haven't seen Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters yet, it's still in theaters for you to enjoy! Visit our September Books on Screen to see more.

In more exciting news, the National Book Award longlist for young people’s literature was announced this Monday --- a longlist means it’s the first round of finalists for the award. There are a great number of middle grade novels on the list! FLORA & ULYSSES: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by K.G. Campbell (mentioned earlier), THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP by Kathi Appelt, A TANGLE OF KNOTS by Lisa Graff, THE THING ABOUT LUCK by Cynthia Kadohata, THE REAL BOY by Anne Ursu and illustrated by Erin McGuire and FAR, FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal are all on the list. How many have you read?? The next round of finalists will be announced in a shortlist on October 16th, and we’ll find out the winner on November 20th. We’ll be sure to keep you updated along the way!

Phew! There’s a lot going on. And we know that you’ve been busy, too, now that school is in full gear. We hope that we help you find the perfect read for you to relax after school and maybe even help you create new memories of what autumn feels like for you! And don’t forget to share this newsletter with your family, friends, teacher and librarians you know!

Happy fall reading!

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

Now in Stores: FORTUNATELY, THE MILK by Neil Gaiman

FORTUNATELY, THE MILK by Neil Gaiman (Adventure)
Find out just how odd things get in this hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

- Click here to read more about the book.
 

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: ROOFTOPPERS by Katherine Rundell

ROOFTOPPERS by Katherine Rundell (Family)
Sophie was supposedly orphaned in a shipwreck when she was a baby, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she flees to Paris to look for her mother. With the help of a network of rooftoppers that she meets, can she find her mother before she's sent back to London? Reviewed by Emma Kantor.

- Click here for more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: FLORA & ULYSSES: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo

FLORA & ULYSSES: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo (Humor)
It begins with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight and misspelled poetry --- and that Flora will be changed, too. Reviewed by Olivia Swomley.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: MISTER MAX: The Book of Lost Things Written by Cynthia Voigt with illustrations by Iacopo Bruno

MISTER MAX: The Book of Lost Things Written by Cynthia Voigt with illustrations by Iacopo Bruno (Historical Fiction/Mystery)
Max's parents are missing. They are actors and thus unpredictable, but sailing away, leaving Max with only a cryptic note, is unusual even for them. Did they intend to leave him behind? Have they been kidnapped? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Special Contest: DUKE by Kirby Larson
In honor of the release of Kirby Larson's DUKE --- where 11-year-old Hobie Hanson is determined to do his part to help his family and his country during WWII, even if it means giving up his beloved German shepherd, Duke--- we have a special contest. Fifteen readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of this historical fiction novel. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, September 30th at noon ET.

More about DUKE:
With World War II raging and his father fighting overseas in Europe, 11-year-old Hobie Hanson is determined to do his part to help his family and his country, even if it means giving up his beloved German shepherd, Duke. Will Hobie ever see Duke, or his father, again?
Click here to enter the contest.

 
Special Contest: SAMMY KEYES AND THE KILLER CRUISE by Wendelin Van Draanen
In honor of the release of the penultimate Sammy Keyes mystery by Wendelin Van Draanen, SAMMY KEYES AND THE KILLER CRUISE --- in which Sammy knew that getting to know her new dad on a cruise would be a little uncomfortable...But when an heiress disappears from the ship, it turns out everyone's in for a rocky ride --- we have a special contest. Five readers will have the opportunity to win a signed copy of this mystery.

You can enter the contest by filling out this form by Wednesday, October 16th at noon ET.

More about SAMMY KEYES AND THE KILLER CRUISE:
Sammy knew that getting to know her new dad on a cruise would be a little uncomfortable...But when an heiress disappears from the ship, it turns out everyone's in for a rocky ride. In this penultimate book in the Sammy Keyes mystery series, Wendelin Van Draanen pays homage to the mystery genre. This book is a classic locked-room whodunnit --- Sammy Keyes style.

 
Click here to read a review.

 
Interviews and Exclusive Audiobook Clip: James Patterson, Co-Author of TREASURE HUNTERS
James Patterson is an author who needs no introduction. Frequently on bestseller lists for both adult and children's books, he's known for writing great stories. But did you know about his efforts to get children reading? For the past decade, James has been devoting more and more of his time to championing books and reading --- from the James Patterson Pageturner Awards, to his website ReadKiddoRead.com, to his regular donations of hundreds of thousands of books to schools here in the states and troops overseas and more.

In this first interview, Patterson talks about why he began writing books for kids, how reluctant readers can get hooked on reading and what books he's working on!

And with his Middle School series a huge success, Patterson begins a new series, Treasure Hunters, which follows a family of four siblings, who take up their family treasure hunting business after both of their parents go missing.

In this second interview, Patterson talks about his new series, Treasure Hunters, explains the talent he'd lend to the Kidd team and reveals which treasure he'd want to hunt after.

- Click here to listen to an EXCLUSIVE clip of the first 10 minutes of the TREASURE HUNTERS audiobook, narrated by the talented Bryan Kennedy.

 
Interview: Megan McCafferty, author of JESSICA DARLING'S IT LIST #1: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness, & Perfection
After a generation of readers fell in love with Jessica Darling as they watched her grow from a 16-year-old into a 20Something, Megan McCafferty has finally brought her back...and to middle school! In JESSICA DARLING'S IT LIST #1: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness and Perfection, Jessica is nervous about starting middle school, but at least she has her best friend and her sister's survival guide. Will that be enough?

In this interview, Megan McCafferty explains why she wanted to bring Jessica Darling back, tells some embarrassing middle school stories of her own and shares her own tips on surviving middle school.

 
Click here to read the interview.

 
September's Books on Screen
Need an escape from this recent phenomenon called "schoolwork" you may find yourself buried under? Head to the theater to see great movie adaptations of some of your favorite books. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up just where the first animated adventure left off. And if you haven't seen Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters yet, it's still in theaters for you to enjoy!

In Theaters:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews, Kristen Schaal
Directors: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn
MPAA Rating: PG
Release Date: September 27th (wide)
Based On: CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS by Judi Barrett

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up where Sony Pictures Animation's mouth-watering comedy left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention --- a machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals --- 'foodimals!' Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and other foodimals to save the world --- again!

Still 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 Riordans 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 visit our Books on Screen Feature.


 
September's New Picture Books
September's roundup of New Picture Books features Peter Brown's MR. TIGER GOES WILD, in which Mr. Tiger decides to go wild, but does he go too far?; Tomie dePaola's STREGA NONA DOES IT AGAIN, where Strega Nona is back, with the perfect remedy for a houseguest who overstays her welcome; and MUSK OX COUNTS by Erin Cabatingan and Matthew Myers, where, as usual, Musk Ox has his own ideas and Zebra does not fail to show his frustration trying to get Musk Ox back on track --- will they make it from 1-10, or will their efforts end in annoyance?
Click here to view our September New Picture books feature!

 
Cool & New Books for September
September's roundup of Cool & New Books includes FORTUNATELY, THE MILK which is a hilarious story of time travel and breakfast cereal, expertly told by Newbery Medalist and bestselling author Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Skottie Young; the companion to Stefan Bachmann's THE PECULIAR, THE WHATNOT, which introduces new human and magical characters who join forces with Bartholomew to rescue his sister Hettie; and Kate DiCamillo's FLORA AND ULYSSES: The Illuminated Adventures, where a squirrel is born anew after a run-in with a vacuum and gains powers of strength, flight and misspelled poetry --- and Flora, the girl who saved him, will ultimately be changed, too.
Click here to see September's Cool & New Books roundup.

 
September’s New in Paperback Roundup
September's roundup of New in Paperback includes THE BULLY BOOK by Eric Kahn Gale, in which Eric Haskins, the target of bullies, is looking for answers, and he finds them; Natasha Lowe's THE POWER OF POPPY PENDLE, where Poppy Pendle inherited her Great Aunt Mabel's witch genes, but she doesn't want to be a witch...she wants to be a baker; and UNSTOPPABLE by Tim Green, where foster kid Harrison finds a loving family and a way to fulfill his football dreams --- but for how much longer can his luck last?
Click here to see September’s New in Paperback roundup.

 
This Month’s Reviews

THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE by Jonathan Stroud (Paranormal Thriller)
A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see --- and eradicate --- these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER by Kevin Henkes (Fiction)
Newbery Honor author and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes delivers a short, satisfying, laugh-out-loud-funny school and family story that features a diorama homework assignment, a school poetry slam, cancelled sleepovers and epic sibling temper tantrums. Illustrated throughout with black-and-white art by the author, this is a perfect short novel for the early elementary grades. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

HOW TO CATCH A BOGLE by Catherine Jinks and Sarah Watts (Fantasy)
If ever a chill entered her soul, or the hope suddenly drained from her heart, she knew a bogle was to blame. Birdie McAdam, a 10-year-old orphan, is tougher than she looks. She's proud of her job as apprentice to Alfred the Bogler, a man who catches monsters for a living. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.

THE BOY ON THE PORCH by Sharon Creech (Fiction)
When a young couple finds a boy asleep on their porch, their lives take a surprising turn. Unable to speak, the boy Jacob can't explain his history. All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for him. THE BOY ON THE PORCH is a singular story about opening your heart and discovering home in unexpected places. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

THE CONTAGIOUS COLORS OF MUMPLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL by Fowler DeWitt (Humor)
Wilmer has always known that the greatest science comes from the keenest observations. So when he observes his classmates looking a little green...and orange...and chartreuse-fuchsia polka-dotted...he knows that it’s up to him to find the cause of this mysterious illness --- and the cure. Reviewed by Cyndie Stetsen.

THE GREAT TROUBLE by Deborah Hopkinson (Historical Fiction)
Eel has troubles of his own: As an orphan and a "mudlark," he spends his days in the filthy River Thames, searching for bits of things to sell. But even for Eel, things aren't so bad until that fateful August day in 1854 --- the day the Great Trouble begins. Mr. Griggs, the tailor, is the first to get sick, and soon it's clear that the deadly cholera --- the "blue death" --- has come to Broad Street. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

THE VERY NEARLY HONORABLE LEAGUE OF PIRATES #1: MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT by Caroline Carlson (Fantasy)
Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous --- and unexpected --- villain on the High Seas. Reviewed by Liz Kossnar.

BROTHERHOOD by Anne Westrick (Historical Fiction)
The year is 1867, the South has been defeated, and the American Civil War is over. But the conflict goes on. By day, 14-year-old Shadrach apprentices with a tailor and sneaks off for reading lessons with Rachel, a freed slave. By night he follows his older brother Jeremiah to the meetings of a group whose stated mission is to protect Confederate widows like their mother. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

IVY AND BEAN TAKE THE CASE by Annie Barrows (Mystery)
Watch out, you diabolical masterminds! There's a new detective on Pancake Court: Bean! She laughs at danger! She solves even the most mysterious mysteries! What? There aren't any mysteries? Then Bean and her assistant, Ivy, will make some! Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

THE MYSTERIOUS WOODS OF WHISTLE ROOT by Christopher Pennell (Fantasy)
A little girl who can only sleep during the day grows from something of an isolated town oddity to the heiress of an ancient legacy of magic and music. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

ZOMBIE BASEBALL BEATDOWN by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fantasy)
In this inventive, fast-paced novel, New York Times bestselling and Printz Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi takes on hard-hitting themes --- from food safety to racism and immigration ---and creates a zany, grand-slam adventure that will get kids thinking about where their food comes from. Reviewed by Liz Kossnar.


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