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July 2014 Newsletter July 2014
Happy (or should we say "Harry"?) July from Kidsreads!

Hi Kidsreaders,

Happy July! I hope you are enjoying your summer vacation! My summer has been pretty good so far --- I visited Cape Cod, went canoeing on the Sudbury River on Fourth of July weekend and have gotten to experience the wonder that is free outdoor movies in New York City way more often than I should. And while it's not stereotypically "summery," I spent part of my last weekend doing something equally awesome --- rereading one of my favorite books, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE by J.K. Rowling.

If you’re very familiar with the series like I am (having read the fourth book about 20 times, thank-you-very-much), all of the magic becomes almost…well…normal. That’s not to mean it isn’t cool --- I wish more than anything that I could fly a broom and catch the tiny golden snitch, or wear an invisibility cloak and sneak around the city. I just mean that having relished in the wizarding world for more than a decade, I started to take it for granted…of course mail would get delivered by owls. Obviously people snack on jumping chocolate frogs, and why wouldn’t goblins run the local bank?

Therefore, rereading the first book in the series was an extra special treat --- it was like going back in time and experiencing everything with fresh eyes. It helped me remember that Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the quirky shops in Diagon Alley and the delectable (and sometimes not-so-delectable) wonders that are Bertie Bott’s Every Flavoured Beans aren’t just fun --- they’re groundbreaking.

But if you have yet to experience the wonder that is Harry Potter yourself, don’t take my word for it. Instead, visit every day this month and check out our “31 Days of Harry Potter” feature, where we explore all of the awesome things that make Harry Potter one-of-a-kind. You can find posts introducing the coolest spells, the craziest magical creatures, and tributes by some of our reviewers, librarians and your favorite authors, like Tom Angleberger and Stephanie Burgis!

And if you already are a Harry Potter fan, we know you’ll delight in reliving everything that makes J.K Rowling’s sensation so awesome…and find some great ideas for throwing your own Harry Potter party (his birthday is July 31st!), visiting “real life” Harry Potter locations and whipping up some delectable enchanted treats like cauldron cakes.

And last but certainly not least, we’re having a Harry Potter contest, where you can win all seven books, plus cool bookmarks and a poster.

Of course, we are about a lot more than Harry this month, including great new reviews of books like FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOR KIDS and FOUND THINGS, and an extra-special quirky holidays.

Oh and one more thing…with school out, there is usually lots of extra time to spend on Look around and drop me a note at if there is something you would like to see more of, or if you have an idea of something you would like to see on the site.

Enjoy, and have a terrific (or should I say magical?) rest of the month!

--- Shara Zaval (

Remembering Walter Dean Myers
Through the years, we at have been honored to share Walter Dean Myers' work with our readers. Author of numerous award-winning books --- including THE DREAM BEARER, THE CRUISERS and DARIUS & TWIG --- the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the former National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and a leading voice in the campaign for diverse books and protagonists, Walter Dean Myers was one of the most influential authors of his time. His slogan as the National Ambassador was "Reading is Not an Option."

Myers passed away on July 1, 2014, and we honor him here with a tribute from our reviewer Alexis Burling. Please read it here, and continue to celebrate this prolific writer by reading his books and sharing his message.

Click here to read our tribute to Walter Dean Myers.

Quirky Celebrations --- Take Your Pants for a Walk Day
July is great for going to the beach and watching fireworks, but apparently it's also good for...taking your pants for a walk?! That's right --- July 27th is Take Your Pants on a Walk Day, and while the holiday mostly promotes exercise (taking yourself for a walk while wearing pants), Kidsreads had a very different image --- what if you took your pants for a walk on a leash, like a pet?

With that in mind, we decided to celebrate this quirky holiday by interviewing three picture book authors with books about, well...quirky pets, including a book, a dinosaur and a piece of construction equipment! Read answers from Bob Staake (MY PET BOOK), George O'Connor (IF I HAD A RAPTOR) and Lori Alexander (BACKHOE JOE) about pets that are ANYTHING but cats and dogs.

Click here to read the full special feature!

July’s Cool & New Books Roundup
Our July roundup includes THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister by Stefan Bachmann, illustrated by Alexander Jansson, a collection of spooky, creepy and fun short stories for fans of SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK; THE GRAVEYARD BOOK GRAPHIC NOVEL: Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by P. Craig Russell, an illustrated graphic novel edition of Neil Gaiman’s celebrated and mysterious children’s book; and THE MISADVENTURES OF THE FAMILY FLETCHER by Dana Alison Levy, which introduces readers to the fun and never-boring Fletcher family made up of two dads, two adopted boys and lots of pets.
Click here to see July's Cool & New Books roundup!

July's New in Paperback Roundup
Among the paperback titles released this month, we have THE IMPOSSIBLE RESCUE: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler, a real life story of survival in the harsh arctic climate in the 19th century; the first in a series in the tradition of the beloved MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE --- MARGUERITE HENRY'S PONIES OF CHINCOTEAGUE: Maddie's Dream by Catherine Hapka; and THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LARRY by Janet Tashijian, about a boy’s famous virtual alter ego.
Click here to visit our July New in Paperback feature!

July's New Picture Books Roundup
Our July picture book roundup includes LITTLE GREEN PEAS: A Big Book of Colors by Keith Baker, the rainbow-filled follow-up to the delightful LMNO PEAS and 1-2-3 PEAS; A PLACE WHERE HURRICANES HAPPEN by Renee Watson and illustrated by Shadra Strickland, where four young friends tell the story of Hurricane Katrina in free verse; and BIG WHOOP written and illustrated by Maxine Lee, a whimsical story that features a rabbit and squirrel who will do anything to make the “too cool” Mr. Fox smile.
Click here to see July's New Picture Books roundup!

Celebrate 31 Days of Harry Potter with with Our Daily Updates and CONTEST!

In case you missed the entire Harry Potter-themed opener of this newsletter, we're bringing up The Boy Who Lived yet again! Here are some useful links for our "31 Days of Harry Potter" feature. Make sure you take a look, and we know you'll fall in love with the series for the first time...or all over again.

Click here to see our 31 Days of Harry Potter feature, with new updates every day.

Click here to enter our Harry Potter contest, where you can win all seven books in the series, plus bookmarks and a poster!


Now in Stores: THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES by Stefan Bachmann, Emma Trevayne, Claire Legrand, and Katherine Catmull

THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES: 36 Tales Brief & Sinister by Stefan Bachmann, Emma Trevayne, Claire Legrand, and Katherine Catmull

A collection of thirty-six eerie, mysterious, intriguing, and very short stories. THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES is perfect for fans of Alvin Schwartz's SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK and anyone who relishes a good creepy tale. Great for reading alone or reading aloud at camp or school!

Click here to read more about the book.
Click here for the review.


Now in Stores: ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman

ALL FOUR STARS by Tara Dairman

Meet Gladys Gatsby: New York’s toughest restaurant critic. (Just don’t tell anyone that she’s in sixth grade.)

Gladys Gatsby has been cooking gourmet dishes since the age of seven, only her fast-food-loving parents have no idea! Now she’s eleven, and after a crème brûlée accident (just a small fire), Gladys is cut off from the kitchen (and her allowance). She’s devastated but soon finds just the right opportunity to pay her parents back when she’s mistakenly contacted to write a restaurant review for one of the largest newspapers in the world.

But in order to meet her deadline and keep her dream job, Gladys must cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy and sneak into New York City --- all while keeping her identity a secret! Easy as pie, right?

Click here to read more about the book.
Click here for the review.


Now in Stores: FOUND THINGS by Marilyn Hilton

FOUND THINGS by Marilyn Hilton

Experience the wonder of the river in this haunting debut novel, where family is lost, friends are found, and hope runs in the current.

One morning, River Rose Byrne wakes up talking like nobody else, and she doesn’t know why. Maybe it’s because her beloved older brother, Theron, has abruptly vanished. Maybe it’s because that bully Daniel Bunch won’t leave her alone. Or maybe it has everything to do with the eerily familiar house that her mind explores when she’s asleep, and the mysterious woman who lives there.

River has to puzzle through these mysteries on her own until she makes a strange new friend named Meadow Lark. But when she brings Meadow Lark home and her mother reacts in a way that takes River by surprise, River is more lost than before. Now all that’s left for her to do is make wish after wish—and keep her eyes open for a miracle.

Marilyn Hilton’s haunting debut dives down deep into murky waters brimming with secrets, sorrow, and hope, giving us faith in the things that we seek, but haven’t yet found.

Click here to read more about the book.
Click here for the review.


New Reviews

Check out our latest reviews on!

NEW! DREAMWOOD by Heather Mackey (Fantasy)

Determined to find her father, Lucy and her vexingly stubborn friend Pete follow William Darrington’s trail to the deadly woods on Devil’s Thumb. As they encounter Lupine princesses, giant sea serpents and all manner of terrifying creatures, Lucy hasn’t reckoned that the dreamwood itself might be the greatest threat of all. Reviewed by Lily Philpott.

NEW! CHASING THE MILKY WAY by Erin E. Moulton (Young Adult Fiction)

Lucy Peevy has a dream --- to get out of the trailer park she lives in and become a famous scientist. And she's already figured out how to do that: build a robot that will win a cash prize at the BotBlock competition and save it for college. But when you've got a mama who doesn't always take her meds, it's not easy to achieve those goals. Especially when Lucy's mama takes her, her baby sister Izzy, and their neighbor Cam away in her convertible, bound for parts unknown. But Lucy, Izzy and Cam are good at sticking together, and even better at solving problems. But not all problems have the best solutions, and Lucy and Izzy must face the one thing they're scared of even more than Mama's moods: living without her at all. Reviewed by Corinne Fox.

NEW! THE ISLANDS OF CHALDEA by Diana Wynne Jones (Fiction)

Aileen comes from a long line of magic makers, and her Aunt Beck is the most powerful magician on Skarr. But Aileen's magic has yet to reveal itself. When Aileen is sent on a mission for the King, she worries that she'll be useless and in the way. A powerful (but mostly invisible) cat changes that. With every obstacle Aileen faces, she becomes stronger and more confident, and her magic blooms. Reviewed by Ashley Tran.

NEW! A HITCH AT THE FAIRMONT written by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Nick Bertozzi (Youth Mystery Fiction)

After the mysterious death of his mother, 11-year-old Jack Fair is whisked away to San Francisco’s swanky Fairmont Hotel by his wicked Aunt Edith. There, he seems doomed to a life of fetching chocolates for his aunt and her pet chinchilla. Until one night, when Aunt Edith disappears, and the only clue is a ransom note written…in chocolate? Suddenly, Jack finds himself on a quest to discover who kidnapped Aunt Edith and what happened to his mother with an unlikely accomplice --- Alfred Hitchcock himself! The two embark on a madcap journey full of hidden doorways, secret societies, cryptic clues, sinister villains and cinematic flair. Reviewed by Emma Kantor.

NEW! THE ACTUAL & TRUTHFUL ADVENTURES OF BECKY THATCHER written by Jessica Lawson, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno (Fiction)

Tom Sawyer’s and Huckleberry Finn’s adventures are legendary, but what about the story you haven’t heard? In 1860, 11-year-old Becky Thatcher is the new girl in town, determined to have adventures like she promised her brother Jon before he died. With her Mama frozen in grief and her Daddy busy as town judge, Becky spends much of her time on her own, getting into mischief. Reviewed by Christine Irvin.

NEW! THE FERAL CHILD by Che Golden (Fiction)

Her parents dead, Maddy is sick of living in Ireland. Mad as hell one evening, she crawls inside the grounds of the castle, the one place she has always been forbidden to go. Once inside, she is chased by a strange feral boy, who she suspects is one of the faerie: cruel, fantastical people who live among humans and exchange local children for their own. When the boy returns to steal her neighbor Stephen into his world, Maddy and her cousins set off on a terrifying journey into a magical wilderness, determined to bring him back home. Reviewed by Sally Tibbetts.

NEW! FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT FOR KIDS: His Life and Ideas, 21 Activities (For Kids series) by Kathleen Thorne-Thomsen (Nonfiction)

Stimulating projects enable kids to grasp the ideas underlying Wright's work. Reviewed by Christine Irvin.

NEW! MADDIE'S DREAM (Marguerite Henry's Ponies of Chincoteague) by Catherine Hapka (Fiction)

Madison “Maddie” Martinez loves her weekly riding lessons, and she loves working with her favorite horse, Cloudy, every time. So she is shocked when she finds out Cloudy’s former owners might want to buy her back! Maddie desperately concocts various plans to stop the sale: maybe she can raise money to buy Cloudy herself, or what if she can make the potential buyers lose interest? Maddie’s online Pony Post friends—Brooke Rhodes, Hayley Duncan, Nina Peralt, who all share a love of Chincoteague ponies—can tell something is up, but at first Maddie is afraid to tell them what’s happening. If she loses her only connection to Chincoteague, will they even want to be friends with her anymore? Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

NEW! OLLIE AND THE SCIENCE OF TREASURE HUNTING (A 14 Day Mystery) by Erin Dionne (Fiction)

While at Wilderness camp on the Boston Harbor Islands, Ollie must navigate new friends, new enemies and a high-stakes game of tag, so the last thing he needs is a mystery. But then Ollie meets Grey, an elusive girl with knowledge of the island’s secrets, including the legend of a lost pirate treasure, which may not be a legend after all. The sidekick steps into the spotlight as Ollie uses his wits and geocaching skills to keep long-lost treasure out of the wrong hands. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

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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