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October 2013

Kidsreads.com Newsletter October 2013
Having a Cozy, Fun and Bookish Fall with Kidsreads.com!

Fall is the BEST season. Maybe some of you think this statement is a bit bold, but I’m ready to stand by it 100%. First of all, no season is prettier or cozier: The warm oranges, yellows and browns on the trees pair well with comfy sweaters, which often follow this same color scheme. It’s also one of the most fun seasons: Apple and pumpkin picking are a blast --- and the apple pastries and pumpkin carvings that follow aren’t too shabby either. And fall brings Halloween with endless possibilities to dress up to be whatever you’d like to be (think of all of your favorite book characters possibilities!) --- and Thanksgiving that is a whole lot of YUM.

October is a fantastic month for middle grade books, and I’m very excited to share them with you!

But first, we have FOUR contests for you this month that are ALL treats and no tricks!

Do you feel bogged down by homework and extracurriculars after your long day of school? So does Jack Strong --- and he’s about to do something about it. In Tommy Greenwald's JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND, Jack Strong is overworked and stages a sit-in on his couch, refusing to get up until his parents let him quit some of the extracurriculars. To celebrate this book's release, 15 readers will have the opportunity to win a signed copy of this tale of protest. The deadline for entries is Wednesday, October 23rd at noon ET. Click here to enter the contest.

In honor of the release of Wendy Mass's THE LAST PRESENT --- When Connor's little sister, Grace, falls into a coma, he finds out it's his task to discover what happened to her and try to fix it, all without running into an alternate version of himself! --- we have a special contest. Fifteen readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of this latest entry in the incredible Willow Falls series. Fill out this form by Thursday, October 31st at noon ET to enter the contest.

We’ve decided to extend our Sammy Keyes contest! Enter to win a signed copy of 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 23rd at noon ET.

Now for a contest that’s a little different! We know you all are creative people --- you are readers after all! 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 create your very own BATTLE BUNNY for a chance to 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 you to grab a pencil, sharpen your creativity and transform a page of this story! By rewriting the text and drawing pictures over the illustration, you can rewrite the story in any way you'd like --- just like the example drawing up above! We can't wait to see what you all come up with! For more information on this contest, click here! The deadline for entries is Friday, December 6th at noon ET.

And now for some books to get cozy with this autumn!

Mythology fans, rejoice! There’s a new Heroes of Olympus book out this month. At the conclusion of THE MARK OF ATHENA, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. Now, in THE HOUSE OF HADES, the other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy's instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea's forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors from both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape? Keep an eye out for a review by Ashley Tran later this month!

Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer is now the author of a new mystery series, Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective. The first book in the series, THE CASE OF THE TIME CAPSULE BANDIT, takes place in Deer Creek, a small town whose only hope for survival is the success of their Founder’s Day Festival. But the festival’s main attraction, a time capsule, has gone missing. Randi Rhodes and her best friend, D.C., are Bruce Lee-inspired ninjas and local detectives determined to solve the case. They have three days to find the treasure…the future of their whole town is at stake! Amy Alessio explains, “Randi and her friends’ problems are realistic and both boy and girl readers will enjoy seeing what happens next in the series.”

And here’s the second book in Lemony Snicket’s whodunit mystery series, All the Wrong Questions, “WHEN DID YOU SEE HER LAST?.” In the fading town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl. Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business? These are All The Wrong Questions. Our reviewer Emma Kantor will have a review for this book at the end of the month. Lemony Snicket is one of my favorite authors, and I’m sure you’ll love this series!

What would you do with eight extra lives? Would you use them for good --- or for mischief? In THE NINE LIVES OF ALEXANDER BADDENFIELD by John Bemelmans Marciano, Alexander Baddenfield is a horrible boy who is the last in a long line of scoundrels. One day, he transplants the nine lives from his cat into himself. Alexander has lives to spare, and uses them by attempting outrageous feats. Only when he is left with one like everyone else does he realize how reckless he has been. Sheena Kowalski reviews, “THE 9 LIVES OF ALEXANDER BADDENFIELD is a remarkable story. It is humorous, dark, silly, and there is a lesson to be learned at the end.”

Middle School is always filled with new and difficult situations to navigate, but in Paula J. Freedman’s MY BASMATI BAR MITZVAH, Tara Feinstein also has to navigate her Indian and Jewish identities. During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara Feinstein has a lot on her mind. Between school and study sessions with the rabbi, she can't hang out with her best friend Ben. Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. Reviewer Sarah Rachel Egelman writes, “MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH is a charming and poignant coming of age story and highly recommended.”

With the temperatures cooling down and leaves starting to fall, there is no doubt that Halloween is right around the corner. We at Kidsreads.com are excited to bring you a list of some of this year’s most bone-chilling Halloween reads. With everything from a game of counting pumpkins, to ghosts getting trapped in haunted houses and the conundrum of picking out a proper Halloween costume, there is something here to appeal to every little ghost or goblin. Have a very happy Halloween with this 2013 Halloween Book Roundup.

In September, we let you know the books that made the National Book Award longlist for young people’s literature. This month, just as promised, we are announcing who made the next round of finalists! The middle grade books on the National Book Award shortlist are THE TRUE BLUE SCOUTS OF SUGAR MAN SWAMP by Kathi Appelt and THE THING ABOUT LUCK by Cynthia Kadohatal. We’ll find out the winner on November 20th and we’ll be sure to continue to keep you updated along the way!

We are working hard to expand the number of features, roundups and books that we share here on Kidsreads.com, as well as the contests (FOUR contests this month is pretty exciting). If you have more ideas on what you would like to see on the site, let me know! And share this newsletter with your friends, as well as your teachers and librarians who you know.

Have a safe Halloween and be sure to share what you're dressing up as! I'm not certain what my costume is going to be...but I'll be sure to let you know in November!

Happy reading...

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

Now in Stores: THE HOUSE OF HADES by Rick Riordan

THE HOUSE OF HADES by Rick Riordan (Mythology)
Annabeth and Percy have tumbled into a pit leading to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy's instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea's forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors from both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. Reviewed by Ashley Tran.

- Click here to read more about the book.
 

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: THE CASE OF THE TIME CAPSULE BANDIT by Octavia Spencer

THE CASE OF THE TIME CAPSULE BANDIT by Octavia Spencer (Mystery)
Deer Creek is a small town whose only hope for survival is the success of their Founder’s Day Festival. But the festival’s main attraction, a time capsule, has gone missing. Randi Rhodes and her best friend, D.C., are Bruce Lee-inspired ninjas and local detectives determined to solve the case. They have three days to find the treasure…the future of their whole town is at stake! Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

- Click here for more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: "WHEN DID YOU SEE HER LAST?" by Lemony Snicket

"WHEN DID YOU SEE HER LAST?" by Lemony Snicket (Mystery)
In the fading town of Stain'd-by-the-Sea, young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl. Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business? These are All The Wrong Questions. Reviewed by Emma Kantor.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: THE NINE LIVES OF ALEXANDER BADDENFIELD by John Bemelmans Marciano

THE NINE LIVES OF ALEXANDER BADDENFIELD by John Bemelmans Marciano (Humor)
Alexander Baddenfield is a horrible boy who is the last in a long line of scoundrels. One day, he transplants the nine lives from his cat into himself. Alexander has lives to spare and uses them by attempting outrageous feats. Only when he is left with one like everyone else does he realize how reckless he has been. Reviewed by Sheena Kowalski.

- Click here to read more about the book.

Click here to read a review.

 
Now in Stores: MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH by Paula J. Freedman
MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH by Paula J. Freedman (Fiction)
During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara Feinstein has a lot on her mind. Between school and study sessions with the rabbi, she can't hang out with her best friend Ben. Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

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

 
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 find out more about the BATTLE BUNNY mash-up contest.

 
Special Contest: JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND by Tommy Greenwald
In honor of the release of Tommy Greenwald's JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND --- in which Jack Strong is overworked and stages a sit-in on his couch, refusing to get up until his parents let him quit some of the extracurriculars--- we have a special contest. Fifteen readers will have the opportunity to win a signed copy of this tale of protest.

You can enter the contest by filling out this form by Wednesday, October 23rd at noon ET.

More about JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND:
Jack Strong just wants to be a regular kid. But his parents have overscheduled his week with every extracurricular activity under the sun --- all on top of regular homework. And so, in JACK STRONG TAKES A STAND by Tommy Greenwald, he stages a sit-in on his couch and refuses to get up until his parents let him quit some of the extracurriculars.
 
Click here to enter the contest.

 
Special Contest: THE LAST PRESENT by Wendy Mass
In honor of the release of Wendy Mass's THE LAST PRESENT --- When Connor's little sister, Grace, falls into a coma, he finds out it's his task to discover what happened to her and try to fix it --- all without running into an alternate version of himself!--- we have a special contest. Fifteen readers will have the opportunity to win a copy of this latest entry in the incredible Willow Falls series. To enter, please fill out this form by Monday, October 31st at noon ET.

You can enter the contest by filling out this form by Thursday, October 31st at noon ET.

More about THE LAST PRESENT:
When Connor's little sister, Grace, falls into a coma, he finds out it's his task to discover what happened to her and try to fix it --- all without running into an alternate version of himself! Luckily, best friends Amanda and Leo are there to help him, even if he has to pass into an alternate universe or two to do it. In Willow Falls, anything is possible.
 
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 second-to-last book in the Sammy Keyes mystery series 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. By the way, the second-to-last book is called the penultimate book, making that your vocabulary word of the day!

You can enter the contest by filling out this form by Wednesday, October 23rd 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 enter the contest.


 
Halloween Books Roundup
With the temperatures cooling down and leaves starting to fall, there is no doubt that Halloween is right around the corner. We at Kidsreads.com are excited to bring you a list of some of this year’s most bone-chilling Halloween reads. With everything from a game of counting pumpkins, to ghosts getting trapped in haunted houses and the trouble of picking out a proper Halloween costume, there is something here to appeal to every little ghost or goblin. Happy Halloween!
Click here to view our 2013 Halloween Books Roundup!

 
October's New Picture Books Roundup
October's roundup of New Picture Books features the companion to the Caldecott Medal-winning THE LION & THE MOUSE, Jerry Pinkney's THE TORTOISE & THE HARE, where even the slowest tortoise can defeat the quickest hare; William Joyce's THE MISCHIEVIANS, which introduces you to the Mischievians, an ancient race of global mischief-makers who do all the things that embarrass you; and FOREVER by Emma Dodd, which shows love lasts forever between parent and child.
Click here to see October's New Picture Books roundup.

 
October’s Cool & New Books Roundup
October's roundup of Cool & New Books includes Lemony Snicket's second book in his All the Wrong Questions series, "WHEN DID YOU SEE HER LAST?," where young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl; John Bemelmans Marciano's THE NINE LIVES OF ALEXANDER BADDENFIELD, in which a horrible boy transplants the nine lives from his cat into himself and recklessly uses them by attempting outrageous feats; and WILL IN SCARLET by Matthew Cody, which follows Will Scarlet, who is on the run and flees the only home he's ever known into Sherwood Forest, where he joins the elusive gang of bandits known as the Merry Men.
Click here to see October’s New in Paperback roundup.

 
October's New in Paperback Roundup
October's roundup of New in Paperback includes THE VENGEKEEP PROPHECIES by Brian Farrey, in which Jaxter Grimjinx is supposed to be a born thief but is a disgrace to the family name --- but then a suspiciously convenient prophecy emerges naming the Grimjinx clan as the soon-to-be heroes of Vengekeep; Peter Lerangis' THE COLOSSUS RISES: Seven Wonders, Book One, in which Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem: in a few months, he's going to die, and the only way to save himself is to find and combine seven magic loculi; and THE RED BLAZER GIRLS: THE SECRET CELLAR by Michael D. Beil, in which Sophie finds a secret message in the antique fountain pen she bought for her father, and the girls are on a case.
Click here to visit our October New in Paperback feature.

 
Other Reviews

THE GIRL WHO SOARED OVER FAIRYLAND AND CUT THE MOON IN TWO Written by Catherynne M. Valente and illustrated by Ana Juan (Fairy Tale)
September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers. Reviewed by Caroline Osborn.

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.

CONSTABLE & TOOP by Gareth P. Jones (Paranormal Mystery)
Ghosts are mysteriously disappearing throughout Victorian London when, due to the Black Rot, empty haunted houses suck them inside and imprison them. It's up to the diligent but clueless Mr. Lapsewood, a paranormal paper-pusher, to work with the living and the dead to destroy the Black Rot before it destroys the ghost and human worlds. Reviewed by Emma Kantor.

MUCKERS by Sandra Neil Wallace (Historical Fiction)
Felix O'Sullivan's world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town. But Felix's got his own burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he's been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby's old position as quarterback, and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship. Maybe then his angry, broken-hearted father will acknowledge him, and they'll be able to put Bobby's death behind them. Reviewed by Jennifer B., Teen Board member.

THE ABOMINABLES by Eva Ibbotsen (Fantasy)
THE ABOMINABLES follows yetis who are forced to leave their home in the Himalayas and make their way across Europe. Siblings Con and Ellen shepherd the yetis along their journey, with the help a good-natured truck driver. The yetis at last find their way to an ancestral estate, only to come upon hunters who have set their sights on the most exotic prey of all: the Abominable Snowmen. Reviewed by Alice Dalrymple.

THE GREAT AMERICAN DUST BOWL by Don Brown (Historical Fiction)
On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up dust to form a duster --- a savage storm --- on America's high southern plains. The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow --- people got lost in the gloom and suffocated...and that was just the beginning. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

SWEET FEET: Samantha Gordon's Winning Season by Samantha Gordon with Ari Bruening (Nonfiction/Sports)
Ten-year-old Samantha “Sweet Feet” Gordon isn’t just a girl who plays football. She’s also the best player in a league full of boys and has become an online sensation. Readers will hear Sam Gordon’s take on her love of football, her rise to fame and her hopes for the future in this exciting autobiography full of stories and photos that will inspire all kids to go for their dreams. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

THE SHADOWHAND COVENANT by Brian Farrey (Fantasy)
With more twists and turns than a palace vault and one unforgettable family of thieves, this second book in Brian Farrey's epic Vengekeep trilogy will leave you breathless. Now, in this exciting sequel, Jaxter Grimjinx is back. Trouble is brewing in the Five Provinces. With the help of a few new friends, Jaxter will have to delve deep into some long-buried and dangerous secrets. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

A QUESTION OF MAGIC by E. D. Baker (Fairy Tale)
Serafina's life takes a turn as she becomes the new Baba Yaga. But leaving behind home and the boy she loves isn't easy, and as Serafina grows into her role of answering the first question any stranger might ask her with the truth, she also learns who she's meant to be and that telling the future doesn't always mean knowing the right answers. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

PERFECT SEASON by Tim Green (Sports)
Troy’s dreams have backfired. He’s going to be part of a team with an unbroken losing streak. Knowing that the road to the NFL begins at an early age, Troy fights back. Troy feels ready for a perfect season. But when Troy’s talent for calling plays slips and his abilities as a quarterback are threatened, he’s got to dig deep. And it will take all of Troy’s football genius to turn this team around. Reviewed by Joy Held.

AFRICA IS MY HOME: A Child of the Amistad by Monica Edinger (Historical fiction)
When a drought hits in Sierra Leone, nine-year-old Magulu is sold by her father. But an unthinkable chain of events unfolds: a capture by slave traders; weeks in an airless hold; a landing where she is sold and taken aboard the Amistad; a mutiny; a trial that is argued by John Quincy Adams. Narrated in first-person, this fictionalized book of a real-life figure retells history through the eyes of a child. Reviewed by Anita Lock.

THE TWISTROSE KEY by Tone Almhjell and Ian Schoenherr (Fantasy)
Something is wrong in the house that Lin's family has rented. When a secret key marked "Twistrose" arrives for her, Lin finds a gate to the world of Sylver. Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with Rufus, the pet she buried under the rosebush. Together they must find the missing Winter Prince in order to save Sylver from destruction. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

GRAVE IMAGES by Jenny Goebel (Mystery)
It's hard for Bernie to make friends when her family runs a monument company and her father has just hired the creepy Mr. Stein to engrave tombstones. Bernie discovers his engraved portrait of their neighbor...who promptly dies. The pattern continues, and Bernie wonders if Mr. Stein is predicting the deaths, or causing them. Reviewed by Cyndie Stetsen.

 


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