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Late June 2009

Kidsreads.com Newsletter for Parents Late June 2009
Reading is Rainproof

With all this rain we've been getting, I feel like I'm living in Seattle or London. In June it rained more than two-thirds of the month. I've reached my saturation point. Luckily, reading a book is something you can do regardless of the forecast.

In case you and your family haven't already marked your calendars and begun your countdown, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits the big screen on July 15th. The sixth installment of the epic good-vs.-evil saga promises plenty of magic, mystery, heart-pounding adventure and hair-raising suspense, not to mention some long-sought answers to dark secrets, raging teenage hormones and a jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy ending. And don't forget that the paperback of THE DEATHLY HALLOWS will be coming out July 7th.

For more great reading suggestions, rain or shine, browse inside MACKENZIE BLUE and join Zee as she tries to survive 7th grade. Author Tina Wells compares herself to the 12-year-old main character and tells us about some of her favorite childhood books in our interview. And be sure to pick up the fourth book in the 39 Clues series, BEYOND THE GRAVE, as well as the first two books in the parallel superhero series, HERO.COM and VILLAIN.NET.

The Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars series chronicles the adventures of a group of street children who aid the world-famous Victorian detective in solving some very tricky mysteries and crimes. Check out the reviews of the first two cases: THE FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS and THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN and read excerpts from CASEBOOK No. 1 and CASEBOOK No. 2. Get some behind-the-scenes info from Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin, the husband-and-wife team who brought the series and characters to life. You can also check out THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE by Nancy Springer, which follows Sherlock's sister Enola as she tries to find her kidnapped landlady.

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps Horrorland series comes to a shocking conclusion with the final two books, ESCAPE FROM HORRORLAND and THE STREETS OF PANIC PARK. And we're featuring THE MAGYKAL PAPERS, a companion book to Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap fantasy series.

No matter where your summer plans will take you --- the beach, a plane, a train, or the couch in your house or apartment --- GraphicNovelReporter.com, the newest site in The Book Report Network, has graphic novel suggestions in the Kids and Tweens categories that will keep you reading! Each group has its own printable list, so you and your family can keep track of what you've read and what you still want to buy.

Be sure to take a look at our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups and our latest reviews --- which include graphic novel and manga titles --- for more great summer reading ideas. And be on the lookout for our Kidsreads.com Reader Survey in July, which will give your children a chance to win free books while allowing us the opportunity to learn more about our readers.

While I know that many of you have your minds on summer and school is not on your radar, I wanted to add a link to a system that my son's school used for managing and processing "Food Days" at school. This service made ordering a breeze. You can see more about them later in this newsletter, and if you ask for more details, don't forget to tell them that Kidsreads.com sent you!


Happy Reading...have a Firecracker Fourth!

Carol Fitzgerald for Kidsreads.com

 

Click here to see the summer's hottest graphic novels for kids and tweens.


 
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince --- In Theaters July 15th
Though J.K. Rowling's spell-binding series ended with a bang last year, I'm sure many of you and your family --- like all of us here at Kidsreads.com --- are having a hard time saying goodbye to Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the Hogwarts clan. Luckily, we still have a chance to see our favorite wizard trio on the big screen. So mark your calendars and let the countdown begin, as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hits theaters on July 15th. This sixth installment of the epic good-vs.-evil saga promises plenty of magic, mystery, heart-pounding adventure and hair-raising suspense, not to mention some long-sought answers to dark secrets, raging teenage hormones and a jaw-dropping, gasp-worthy ending.

Click here for more info about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.


 
Available in Paperback on July 7th: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS
July 7th marks the paperback release of the final Harry Potter adventure!

It all comes down to this --- a final face off between good and evil. You plan to pull out all the stops, but every time you solve one mystery, three more evolve. Do you stay the course you started, despite your lack of progress? Do you detour and follow a new lead that may not help? Do you listen to your instincts, or your friends?

Lord Voldemort is preparing for battle and so must Harry. With Ron and Hermione at his side, he's trying to hunt down Voldemort's Horcruxes, escape danger at every turn, and find a way to defeat evil once and for all. How does it all end?

Find out in HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.

-Click here to read a review of HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS.
-Click here to visit Harry Central on Kidsreads.com.

 

New Special Feature: MACKENZIE BLUE by Tina Wells

In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Sarah Rachel Egelman, Tina Wells compares herself to Zee, the 12-year-old main character of her new novel MACKENZIE BLUE, and explains why she chose to write this story for middle-grade readers. She also mentions some of her favorite books from childhood, stresses the importance of writing as a form of self-expression, and shares what we can look forward to in future installments of the series.

MACKENZIE BLUE by Tina Wells
Meet Mackenzie Blue, aka Zee.

She has it all --- smarts, talent, humor and style. Is it enough to survive middle school?

Countdown to a 7th Grade Meltdown:

1. Your BFF moves away.
2. Someone steals your diary and reveals your deepest secrets --- to the ENTIRE class.
3. You have one chance to become a rock star and one chance to totally blow it.

Guess what!? All three happened to me! School's a disaster already. Don't get me wrong --- I love Brookdale Academy and I have a fabulous crew of friends. (At least, I think I do.) But, if I'm going to survive, I need all the help I can get!

Now that her secrets are out, Mackenzie’s world is turned upside down. Who can she trust?

-Click here to read more about MACKENZIE BLUE.
-Click here to browse inside MACKENZIE BLUE.
-Click here to read our interview with Tina Wells.
-Click here to read Tina Wells’s bio.


Click here to read a review of MACKENZIE BLUE.


 

New Special Feature: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin

Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin are the co-authors of Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, which chronicles the adventures of a group of street children who aid the world-famous Victorian detective in solving some very tricky cases. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Donna Volkenannt, the husband-and-wife team talk about why they chose to devote their series to these figures who played miniscule roles in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories and recall the true inspiration behind the characters' charming, ragamuffin personalities. They also explain how they divide their collaborative duties, discuss their hands-on research while visiting London, and share details about the third installment of the series.

CASEBOOK NO. 1: THE FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin
Few know that Sherlock Holmes was assisted by a band of devoted boys, street urchins who loved to solve mysteries, called the Baker Street Irregulars. When a murder at the circus unravels to reveal another far more treacherous crime, Holmes calls on the gang for help. Can the Baker Street Irregulars solve the mystery before it’s too late?


CASEBOOK NO. 2: THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN
by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin
Casebook No. 2 in this exciting series gives Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars a most unusual case to crack. A young woman named Elsa Hoffman seeks out the detective when her aunt dies mysteriously. As Ozzie, Wiggins and the gang start investigating, seemingly real ghosts suddenly appear and Elsa is followed by shady characters. Holmes must decide if he and his assistants can solve the case without facing mortal danger. Join the Irregulars for a mysterious and fright-filled adventure and decide if this is a case of the supernatural --- or dark con men, thieves and murderers!

-Read reviews of THE FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS and THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN.
-Read excerpts from THE FALL OF THE AMAZING ZALINDAS and THE MYSTERY OF THE CONJURED MAN.
-Click here to read our interview with Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin
.
-Click here to read bios of Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin.

 

 

Special Feature: THE 39 CLUES Book 4: BEYOND THE GRAVE by Jude Watson

THE 39 CLUES Book 4: BEYOND THE GRAVE by Jude Watson
A Clue found in Book 3 sends Amy and Dan jetting off to find out just what’s behind the fierce rivalry between the Tomas and Ekaterina branches of the Cahill family. Was a Clue stolen from the Tomas branch? Where is it now? And most important, can Amy and Dan get their hands on it before their rivals do?

-Click here to read an excerpt from BEYOND THE GRAVE.
-Click here to read a Q&A with Jude Watson.
-Click here to read Jude Watson’s bio.
-Visit the official website of the series, www.The39Clues.com.

 
Click here to read a review of BEYOND THE GRAVE.

 
Special Feature: HERO.COM and VILLAIN.NET by Andy Briggs

Screenwriter Andy Briggs is the author of a new series for young readers, Hero.com, as well as its parallel anti-series, Villain.net, which both follow ordinary teenagers who stumble upon websites that allow them to download superhuman abilities to be used for good or evil. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Sarah A. Wood, Briggs discusses why he chose to write these stories as novels instead of the more typical comic-book format, and muses on the books’ theme regarding the fine line between heroes and villains. He also explains why he chose to give his characters seemingly strange and unusual superpowers, describes his need to balance action with humor, and shares details about the series' interactive website, www.heroorvillainbooks.com.

If you could download superpowers to fight for good or evil, would you be a HERO or a VILLAIN?

 

HERO.COM: RISE OF THE HEROES (#1) by Andy Briggs
Toby, Pete, Lorna and Emily are just average kids --- until they stumble upon a Web site that turns them into real heroes. Hero.com allows them to download flying, invisibility, or teleportation abilities, and suddenly, Toby’s rivalry with his sister, Lorna, and Pete’s trouble with Jake Hunter, the school bully, don’t seem so bad! But when the supervillain Doc Tempest kidnaps Toby’s and Lorna’s mom, will they be able to combine their powers to fight evil and bring their mother home? Of course, little do they know that Villain.net is out there too, recruiting teens for the other side…

VILLAIN.NET: COUNCIL OF EVIL (#1) by Andy Briggs
Jake Hunter is your quintessential bully --- tough, mean and misunderstood. While he likes the power gotten from picking on the nerdy kids, he’s sick of his dumb buddies, and he craves some adventure in his dull life. So when he stumbles upon a Web site called Villain.net that lets him download superpowers, he’s eager to try out the laser vision and the radioactivity. But when he joins forces with a supervillain named Basilisk, Jake must decide if he truly wants to accept the consequences of being a villain. And of course, little does he know that Hero.com is out there too, recruiting teens for the other side….


Good or evil, would you be a HERO or a VILLAIN?

-Read reviews of HERO.COM: RISE OF THE HEROES and VILLAIN.NET: COUNCIL OF EVIL.
-Read excerpts from HERO.COM: RISE OF THE HEROES and VILLAIN.NET: COUNCIL OF EVIL.
-Click here to read our interview with Andy Briggs.
-Click here to read Andy Briggs’s bio.
-Visit the official website of the series, www.heroorvillainbooks.com.


 
Series Feature Update: Goosebumps HorrorLand by R.L. Stine

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #11: ESCAPE FROM HORRORLAND by R.L. Stine
Siblings Lizzy and Luke are concerned about the 14 Very Special Guests who are in a dangerous situation in HorrorLand. Can they help the kids escape a dreadful fate? (Fair warning: Readers should be prepared to be completely creeped out. Don't say I didn't caution you!) Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #12: THE STREETS OF PANIC PARK by R.L. Stine
Yes, it's true: In the final book of the Goosebumps HorrorLand series, the kids have been captured by The Menace, the ultimate in Evil, who claims he must terrify them --- and then proceeds to do just that, in the most horrifying ways imaginable. Is there hope for any survivors? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Read reviews of ESCAPE FROM HORRORLAND and THE STREETS OF PANIC PARK.
-Click here to play the updated Goosebumps HorrorLand trivia game.

 

Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature.

 
Series Feature Update: Septimus Heap by Angie Sage
SEPTIMUS HEAP: THE MAGYKAL PAPERS by Angie Sage
Have you ever wondered about the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the people and places surrounding that seventh son of a seventh son, the amazing Septimus Heap? In this highly illustrated supplementary book, generously larded with the series' trademark hilarious comments and asides, you can browse through a plethora of histories, tours, restaurant guides, journals, maps, and much more. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read our Septimus Heap series feature.
 

Click here to read a review of THE MAGYKAL PAPERS.

 
Now in Stores: THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE: An Enola Holmes Mystery, by Nancy Springer

THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer
Enola Holmes is back on the case when her beloved landlady Mrs. Tupper is kidnapped over a mysterious message. It doesn’t help that her pesky older brother, Sherlock, is involved. Will Enola be able to keep her freedom from the overbearing Sherlock Holmes and find Mrs. Tupper in time? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

 


 
Click here to read a review of THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE.

 

School Lunches Online

It seems like everything is moving online these days, so it should come as no surprise that school lunches are making their way to the web. One company that is helping to fuel this transition is myFoodDays, an online web site created to help PTA's, PTO's and schools manage lunch orders.

If you use local vendors to bring in fresh food for the children, myFoodDays is a web site that puts their orders online so that parents and children can pre-order in the most efficient way.

myFoodDays automates the menus and ordering, taking credit/debit payments and banishing paper slips forever. Plus, they help parents make orders, keeping them up to date with email alerts, and keep records for the vendors and for the treasurer.

Check them out at http://www.myFoodDays.com

Cool New Books for June

June's roundup of Cool New Books includes BEYOND THE GRAVE by Jude Watson, the fourth installment in the multimedia series The 39 Clues; FOOTBALL CHAMP, Tim Green’s newest sports thriller and a sequel to his bestselling FOOTBALL GENIUS; EXTRA CREDIT, a middle-grade novel from Andrew Clements that tells of the growing friendship between a girl living in Illinois and a boy from Afghanistan; THE MAGYKAL PAPERS, a fully illustrated companion book to Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap fantasy series; and WARRIORS: CODE OF THE CLANS, Erin Hunter’s in-depth guide to the code that governs all warrior cats.
 

Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for June.

 
June's New in Paperback Roundup

June’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE SORCERER OF THE NORTH, book five in John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice fantasy/adventure series; PETER AND THE SECRET OF RUNDOON, the action-packed finale to Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Starcatchers trilogy; QUESTE, the fourth installment of Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series, in which the protagonist continues his journey of Magykal self-discovery; and NO TALKING, a middle-grade novel from Andrew Clements that pits boys against girls in an experiment that will determine which team can say the fewest words during the course of two full days.
 

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

 
This Month's Reviews

Kidsreads.com Reviews:
 

MAKE WAY FOR DYAMONDE DANIEL written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Dyamonde Daniel may be new in town, but that doesn’t stop her from making a place for herself in a jiffy. With her can-do attitude and awesome brain power, she takes the whole neighborhood by storm. The only thing puzzling her is the other new kid in her class. He’s awfully grouchy --- but Dyamonde is determined to get to the bottom of his frowning attitude and make a friend. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

OTTOLINE GOES TO SCHOOL by Chris Riddell

Intrepid Ottoline Brown and her hairy sidekick, Mr. Munroe, decide to join new friends at the Alice B. Smith School for the Differently Gifted. But Mr. Munroe is afraid of the ghost rumored to haunt the school halls at night. And Ottoline soon worries that she may not even have a special gift --- although she of course does! Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE DEEP by Helen Dunmore
Return once again with Sapphire to the underwater world of Ingo and the Mer people. In the third installment of this creatively combined land and nautical series, Sapphire must go back to the dangerous Deep, this time to confront the evil Kraken who has awoken and now demands a sacrifice. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

CORYDON & THE SIEGE OF TROY by Tobias Druitt
In this satisfying conclusion to the ancient Greece Corydon trilogy, Corydon reunites with his “monster” friends to help the besieged city of Troy fight against the impenetrable Akhilleus and the Greek army. It is up to Corydon to thwart the mighty Zeus and save his friends and Troy from destruction. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

HERBERT'S WORMHOLE by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao
It is a familiar but compelling story: two heroes, of different temperaments and philosophies, must unite to defeat a common enemy. HERBERT'S WORMHOLE by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao takes this literary theme and adds cartoon graphics, video games, space aliens and time travel for a rollicking and fantastic chapter book. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

THE PIRATES OF CROCODILE SWAMP by Jim Arnosky
In 1982, an abusive father takes off running with his sons, Sandy and Jack, to the Florida Keys. Fearing that their mother is dead, and fearful of their father’s wrath, the two boys sneak away from his fists. Survival and freedom become their goals as they hide out in the dangerous, life-filled Crocodile Swamp, preferring the company of sharks, snakes and crocodiles to their own father. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE PRINCE OF FENWAY PARK by Julianna Baggott
Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, has been the site of some of the most legendary (and infamous) episodes in baseball history. And now, in the pages of Julianna Baggott’s terrific new novel, it also plays a starring role in a great story about fathers, sons, history and the enduring power of baseball. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read our Kidsreads.com reviews.


Graphic Novel Reviews:

CORALINE: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by P. Craig Russell
Neil Gaiman’s CORALINE gets reenvisioned as a graphic novel in this treatment from P. Craig Russell. It turns out there just isn’t a bad adaptation of this story to be found. Reviewed by John Hogan.

G-MAN: LEARNING TO FLY by Chris Giarrusso
How hard can it be to fly? Not too hard if you have the right book. A magic cape helps too. All these things come in very handy for two young brothers in G-MAN: LEARNING TO FLY. Reviewed by John Hogan.

 

Manga Review:

NINJA BASEBALL KYUMA!, Volume 1 by Shunshin Maeda
He is a lone ninja honing his skills in the mountains and waiting to be sent to battle. They are a ragtag baseball team with a gaping hole in their lineup. Throw in a cute dog, and you have a great summer manga. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

-Click here to read our graphic novel and manga reviews.

 

Poll and Question: How Speedy Are You?

Poll:
 

Do you consider yourself to be a fast reader?

Very fast
Moderately fast
Medium

Slow
Very slow

-Click here to participate in the poll.


Question:


What is a recent book that you just zipped through reading?

-Click here to answer the question.

 


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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