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Late June/ Early July 2008 Newsletter

Late June/Early July 2008

What's New on

Mysterious Contests and Savvy Features

New Special Feature: SAVVY by Ingrid Law Talks to Meg Cabot, Author of ALLIE FINKLE'S RULES FOR GIRLS

Special Contest and Feature: MOVING DAY and THE NEW GIRL by Meg Cabot


Great Books for Boys --- We've Updated Our List!

Books into Movies: Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery


Now in Stores: THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book Four by Rick Riordan

The 2008 Children's Choice Book Awards

The 2008 Golden Kite Awards

Cool New Books for June

June's New in Paperback Roundup's Most Recent Reviews

Poll and Question: Summer Vacation Reading

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Mysterious Contests and Savvy Features

We hope you all had a great Fourth of July weekend. I took some time away from reading and went to see the movie Wall-E, which I loved. It was pretty amazing how so much of the story was told without words, but rather with sounds and animation. Watching it I was thinking how much it was like reading a graphic novel. There was a lot unspoken, but still you heard it as you watched. The same thing happens when I am reading a book where there are more pictures than words. I just fill in the blanks with my own thoughts and interpretation. That does not happen when I am reading a traditional book!

We are bringing you two interviews this month. The first is with Ingrid Law, author of SAVVY, a debut novel that I just love. Reviewer Chris Shanley-Dillman asks Ingrid about the inspiration for some of her characters and how she decided on her characters' savvies, or special powers, which they become aware of on their 13th birthday. In what we think is a really wonderful treat, SAVVY will be available online --- the entire book! --- from Monday, July 14th to Friday, July 18th at And I am happy to share that we have learned that there will be more books about this fascinating family.

We love Meg Cabot, and we know you and your kids do too. So we are happy to share that we had a chance to interview Meg about her new series, including what's in store for Allie in upcoming Allie Finkle books. You'll also find out the kooky place where Meg likes to do her writing! Let's just say she does some pretty interesting multi-tasking.

Congratulations to the winners of our WILLOUGHBYS and ELVIS & OLIVE giveaways! Want to be a winner, too? Then be sure to enter your child in our MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY Tote Bag of Books Sweepstakes, as well as our brand new contest where 10 kids will have the chance to win one copy of each of the first two books in the Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series.

We've updated our Great Books for Boys list, which my son Cory helped me start when he was 11 (he's now 13, but still has a hand in the titles that we add here). One of the books we added is THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH, which continues the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. This time, author Rick Riordan leads Percy into the dangerous maze that exists underground. The week this book came out I had to take Cory and his friend Josh to the bookstore to get it ASAP. I had some errands to do, so after we bought their books they stayed on at the bookstore reading in big comfy chairs. When I came back they still were reading and comparing what page they were on. They both read at about the same pace, so this was pretty humorous. Then Josh slept over and they kept reading. They are very amusing since they always are exchanging piles of books when they get together. Josh is at camp this summer, and Cory loaded him up with books before he left.
They both tell me that after reading this book, you'll be dying to see what happens in the fifth and final installment!

The newest addition to the ’Ology series (which also appears on the list) is THE PIRATEOLOGY HANDBOOK, which tells kids all about how to catch pirates and gives profiles of some of the most notorious swashbucklers on the seven seas. The 'Ology books are a huge hit around our house. I know this since they always end up in the kitchen or the family room, and I add them to a pile on the steps to go upstairs. Do you find yourself doing the same thing with your kids' books?

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery is now in theaters. It's based on the popular American Girl series and follows Kit as she tries to uncover who is behind a string of robberies in her hometown. This is the first time an American Girl has made it to the big screen --- and she's a hit!

Looking for some award-winning books? The winners of the 2008 Children's Choice Book Awards and Golden Kite Awards have been announced. Will any of the books honored make your little one's summer reading list?

Want to find out what's brand new on bookstore shelves and at your library? Don’t miss our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups, and be sure to  take a look at our most recent reviews!

Here's to enjoying summer --- and summer reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (


New Special Feature: SAVVY by Ingrid Law

Ingrid Law's debut novel, SAVVY, is an imaginative coming-of-age tale about a gifted family whose members are given a supernatural power when they turn 13. In this interview with's Chris Shanley-Dillman, Law explains what inspired this innovative storyline and discusses the similarities and differences between herself and her protagonist, Mibs. She also describes how she infused the book with life lessons she's learned the hard way, shares details about an upcoming sequel and reveals what kind of savvy she would choose for herself if she was ever given the opportunity.

SAVVY by Ingrid Law
For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a “savvy” --- a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn 13. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity…and now it’s the eve of Mibs’s big day.

As if waiting wasn't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs’s birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman’s bus…only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up --- and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.

-Click here to read an excerpt from SAVVY.
-Click here to read our interview with Ingrid Law.
-Click here to read Ingrid Law’s bio.
-Visit the author's official website,

-You can read the full version of SAVVY online from July 14th to July 18th at

Click here to read a review of SAVVY. Talks to Meg Cabot, Author of ALLIE FINKLE'S RULES FOR GIRLS

The protagonist of Meg Cabot's most recent series is Allie Finkle, a spirited nine-year-old with a Type-A personality who takes sudden life changes in stride by making up rules to live by, like "You can never make a second first impression" and "Don't stick a spatula down your best friend's throat." In this interview with's Jana Siciliano, Cabot explains what inspired these novels aimed for tweens, and compares her main character's wacky family and upbringing with her own. She also describes her favorite spots to write, shares her thoughts on making and breaking rules, and reveals what's in store for Allie in future installments of the series.
Click here to read our interview with Meg Cabot.


Special Contest and Feature: MOVING DAY and THE NEW GIRL by Meg Cabot

To celebrate the August 5th release of the second installment in Meg Cabot's Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series, is giving 10 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the first two books, MOVING DAY and NEW GIRL.

MOVING DAY by Meg Cabot
When nine-year-old Allie Finkle's parents announce that they are moving her and her brothers from their suburban split-level into an ancient Victorian in town, Allie is sure her life is over. She's not at all happy about having to give up her pretty pink wall-to-wall carpeting for creaky floorboards and creepy secret passageways --- not to mention leaving her modern, state-of-the-art suburban school for a rundown, old-fashioned school just two blocks from her new house.

With a room she's half-scared to go into, the burden of being "the new girl" and her old friends all a half-hour car ride away, how will Allie ever learn to fit in?

THE NEW GIRL by Meg Cabot
Allie is very excited for her first day of school at Pine Heights Elementary. She is going to be in the same class as her new friends Erica, Caroline and Sophie, and she loves her new teacher, pretty and stylish Mrs. Hunter. Plus, she’s getting a new kitten --- the first pick of showcat Lady Serena Archibald’s litter!

There is only one problem in Allie’s perfect new life: one of the girls in Allie’s new class, Rosemary, doesn’t like her. In fact, Rosemary says she’s going to beat Allie up after school!

Everyone has an opinion on how Allie should handle the situation: Erica thinks she should tell Mrs. Hunter. Caroline thinks Allie should handle it with nonviolent conflict resolution. Dad teaches Allie how to fight, while Uncle Jay says you have to psych out your opponent. How can Allie tell who’s right?

-Click here to read a review of MOVING DAY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from MOVING DAY.
-Visit the official website of the series,


Click here for all the contest details.



To celebrate the release of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY by Trenton Lee Stewart, has teamed up with Little, Brown for Young Readers to give 25(!) lucky kids the chance to win a Bag of Books containing not only a copy of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY, but also some of the coolest books from some of your favorite series published by Little, Brown for Young Readers. In a big tote bag, winners will receive one copy of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY and its sequel, along with ATHERTON: THE HOUSE OF POWER and ATHERTON: RIVERS OF FIRE by Patrick Carman, MAXIMUM RIDE: THE ANGEL EXPERIMENT by James Patterson and VAMPIRATES: DEMONS OF THE OCEAN by Justin Somper.


-Visit the official website of the series,
Click here for all the contest details.


Great Books for Boys --- We've Updated Our List! Founder Carol Fitzgerald frequently has been told by mothers how difficult it is to get their sons to read. Some are busy participating in sports and other extracurricular activities, watching television, playing video games and surfing the Internet, while others simply don't like to read, no matter how much free time they may have.

This inspired her to enlist her son Cory, an avid reader, to compile a list of books that he thinks are great reads for boys. Included are series titles and stand-alone fiction that cover a variety of genres: fantasies, mysteries, thrillers, action/adventure novels and historical fiction. While many of these selections also will appeal to girls, they especially will capture the attention of boys, who often are much more reluctant readers. 

We have added to our list to reflect those books that have been released since our last update in August 2007. Among our most recent additions are THE BOOK OF TIME by Guillaume Prevost, THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman, THE SEEMS: THE GLITCH IN SLEEP by John Hulme and Michael Wexler, RALEIGH’S PAGE by Alan Armstrong, and updates to such popular series as Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz, Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michele Paver and Pendragon by D.J. MacHale.


Click here to see our complete list of Great Books for Boys.


Books into Movies: Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery

Fans of the classic American Girl series, be sure to clear your calendars for at least one day in July, because on July 2nd your favorite amateur sleuth/aspiring reporter sneaks her way into theaters for the release of Kit Kittredge! Though TV movies have already been made about fellow American Girl characters Molly, Felicity and Samantha, this is the first to make it to the big screen. So join this all-star cast, featuring Abigail Breslin, Joan Cusack, Julia Ormond, Chris O’Donnell, Stanley Tucci and more, as Kit and her best friend Ruthie investigate a string of robberies in 1930s Cincinnati.
Click here for more details about this film.



THE PIRATEOLOGY HANDBOOK: A Course in Pirate Hunting written by Captain William Lubber, edited by Dugald A. Steer
Is there anyone out there on the seven seas more swashbuckling and cunning than a pirate? Yes! A pirate hunter. In order to outsmart and outmaneuver a pirate, a pirate hunter must know all about the pirate’s dastardly ways. Captain William Lubber has written THE PIRATEOLOGY HANDBOOK to help fledgling pirate hunters learn the ins and outs of their trade. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.
Click here to read a review of THE PIRATEOLOGY HANDBOOK.


Now in Stores: THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book Four by Rick Riordan

THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH: Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book Four by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears on campus, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse. In this latest installment of Rick Riordan's series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
Click here to read a review of THE BATTLE OF THE LABYRINTH.


The 2008 Children's Choice Book Awards

On May 13th, the Children's Book Council (CBC) announced the winners of the newly launched Children's Choice Book Awards. The three titles and two authors honored in each of the five categories were selected from finalists compiled from bestseller lists, including those by BookScan, The New York Times and USA Today. Children across the country then cast nearly 55,000 votes at bookstores, school libraries and at The awards were presented at a gala held in New York City as part of this year's Children's Book Week, held from May 12-18.

Click here to see all the winners of the Children's Choice Book Awards.

The 2008 Golden Kite Awards
The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) recently announced the winners of the 2008 Golden Kite Awards. Given annually since 1973, the Award recognizes excellence in children's literature in the four categories of fiction, nonfiction, picture book text, and picture book illustration, and presents to each a cash prize of $2,500. In addition to the award winners, four honor book recipients are also named by a panel of judges made up of children's book writers and illustrators.
Click here to see all the winners of the Golden Kite Awards.


Cool New Books for June

June’s roundup of Cool New Books includes ONE SMALL STEP, a middle grade novel from Children of the Lamp author P. B. Kerr about a 13-year-old boy recruited by NASA for their secret space program, which will require him to journey to the moon with two chimps as his partners; CITY OF TIME, the second installment of Eoin McNamee’s adventure-filled Navigator Trilogy that sees the moon coming closer to the sun and people fearing the world will end; ACTING OUT, a collection of original one-act plays written by six Newbery winners (including Avi, Sharon Creech and Patricia MacLachlan); and SUDDENLY SUPERNATURAL: SCHOOL SPIRIT, the first of three books by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel that introduces readers to a girl who takes after her mother in a very special way --- she has the ability to see spirits and communicate with them.
Click here to see our roundup of Cool New Books for June.


June's New in Paperback Roundup

June’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes MR. CHICKEE'S MESSY MISSION by Christopher Paul Curtis, in which the Flint Future Detectives investigates the disappearance of Rodney Rodent, who jumps into a mural to chase a demonic-looking gnome and vanishes; VAMPIRE ISLAND, Adele Griffin’s tale of three vampire siblings struggling to make sense of New World ways on the island of Manhattan; Matt Haig’s SAMUEL BLINK AND THE FORBIDDEN FOREST, a funny and captivating fantasy about two children whose eccentric aunt’s endless rules are just the beginning of their problems; and LISTEN!, an award-winning novel from Newbery Honor author Stephanie S. Tolan that explores the heartwarming connection between a 12-year-old girl and a wild, abused dog.

Click here to see what's New in Paperback for June.'s Most Recent Reviews

EVER by Gail Carson Levine
Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine has created a stunning new world of flawed gods, unbreakable vows and ancient omens in this spellbinding story of Kezi, a girl confronted with a terrible destiny. Attempting to thwart her fate, Kezi and her love, Olus --- the god of wind and loneliness --- embark on a series of dangerous and seemingly impossible quests. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

FOUND: Book One of The Missing by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Thirteen-year-old Jonah has known for the longest time that he’s adopted. For him it’s as normal as having an annoying younger sister, and he’s fine with it. But when he starts receiving mysterious letters in the mail hinting that his adoption is anything but normal, his life gets tossed into a mysterious whirlwind adventure from which he may never return. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE DRAGON’S CHILD: A Story of Angel Island by Laurence Yep with Dr. Kathleen S. Yep
In 1922, 10-year-old Gim Lew Yep has to leave his home in China and travel by ship to America. He doesn’t want to say goodbye, but his father, whom he barely knows, insists he return to America with him to find work. However, the real test comes at the holding station on Angel Island, just off San Francisco. That’s where Gim Lew and his father must undergo an intense interrogation to gain access to America. If they fail, their family could starve! Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

PUDDLEJUMPERS by Mark Jean and Christopher C. Carlson
Thirteen-year-old Ernie Banks seems to cause of a lot of trouble at the orphanage where he lives. With threats of being handed over to the youth authority, Ernie has one last chance to prove himself, spending three weeks working on a farm. However, he manages to find himself in even more trouble as he falls deep into a mystery involving a missing baby, an ancient prophecy, a blue crystal acorn, tiny magical creatures called Puddlejumpers, and nasty, evil Troggs intent on destroying the earth. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

OTTOLINE AND THE YELLOW CAT written and illustrated by Chris Riddell
Someone has been stealing the lap dogs of the society women of the neighborhood, or so it seems. But Ottoline Brown and Mr. Munroe, her hairy, silent companion, uncover a canine crime ring led by a sneaky yellow cat. Mr. Munroe must go undercover to break up the ring and return the dogs to their worried owners. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

OUT OF THE WILD by Sarah Beth Durst
"Once upon a time" is a phrase that makes 12-year-old Julie, the daughter of Rapunzel, shudder. She previously defeated the Wild, which wants to engulf the 21st century world and turn everyone into mindless fairy tale characters, forever looping through a fairy tale story. And now the Wild is baaAAAAck! Julie must go on a quest (which includes flying on top of a bath mat while dodging fire-breathing dragons) in an attempt to save the world from enchantment yet again. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

On the night that Chancey is born, a "fire star" gallops across the sky, a signal that a great horse has entered the world. But it will take many years of hardships and neglect before the orphaned albino will believe that the prophecy is truly meant for him.
Reviewed by Carole Turner.

Click here to read our most recent reviews.


Poll and Question: Summer Vacation Reading


If you are going away for a week of vacation, how many books do you bring?

More than 10

-Click here to participate in the poll.


What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer?

-Click here to answer the question.


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