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August 2009 Newsletter for Parents August 2009
Warm Days and Hot Books

One of my favorite things to do on a hot summer day is swim in my pool or just drift in the water and relax on a floating chair with a book. I can't believe it's the end of August. We know some kids are back in school already, and others, like my sons, will be heading back soon. Where did this summer go? To everyone, soak in these last few weeks of summer with some good books.

My younger son is finishing up his summer reading with just the two books he knows they will be quizzed on when school begins left to read, so he will remember all the details. As much as I hate that he still has "assignments" to read, I agree that this probably was the best way to tackle this. I guess this really is the last call for summer reading!

There's still time for your children to answer our 2009 Reader Survey. Ask them to take the survey now and they could win one of the 24 titles being given away. All respondents can enter our random drawing, and 1,000 readers will win! Remember, if you have children under 13 answering the survey, you must complete a form for them to be eligible to be entered. Click here for more details and be sure to enter before Tuesday, September 15th. Spread the word to your fellow parents, teachers, librarians, students, nieces, nephews and more! The greater amount of feedback we get, the better!

And, again, if you have children, or perhaps a babysitter, who is a teenager, we have a teen survey at that is ending on Monday, August 31st at 11:59 PM. Send them this link so they can answer this survey and win free books!

Have your kids been keeping up with The 39 Clues series? The fifth book by Patrick Carman, THE BLACK CIRCLE, is now available in stores, and the hunt for the 39 Clues leads Amy and Dan to their most treacherous destination yet. Your kids can read an excerpt from the thrilling story and enter our giveaway for their chance to be one of the 25 lucky readers who will win a copy of the book. THE BLACK CIRCLE is also Al Roker's latest book club pick, which you can read more about here.

For new book ideas, check out BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY) by Lisa Yee. Read an excerpt here and learn more about Robert Carver Ellis-Chan --- a perfectly normal fourth grader who gets into perfectly crazy situations. Your kids can also check out the latest installment of John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, THE SIEGE OF MACINDAW, and Megan McDonald's JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT, which follows Judy Moody and Stink on their quest for pirate treasure on "Artichoke Island." And though summer may be coming to an end, you and your kids can take a sneak peek at the new books releasing this fall in our Coming Soon feature. is giving away 15 copies of AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko. Click here to enter and find out what happens when you might owe a favor to one of the most infamous mobsters in history. And your children can still enter for their chance to be chosen as one of the lucky 20 to win a copy of Shani Petroff's BEDEVILED: DADDY'S LITTLE ANGEL. recently interviewed Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, the brother and sister team who created the successful comic series Babymouse for kids. Read our interview with the sibling duo and find out how they work together, how the series came about, and the scoop on what's next for the lovable Babymouse.

And don't forget to check out 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 suggestions.

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald for's 2009 Reader Survey --- Give Us Your Input and Win a Free Book is conducting a survey of our readers. Our goal is to identify trends and topics that are of interest to today's readers aged 6-12 years old. We will share this information with publishers, authors, booksellers, librarians and the staff, so that we are better able to enhance your reading experience. Since we have never done a survey of the audience, we are eager to hear from you.

We estimate it will take about 10 minutes to complete the survey. All of the respondents can enter a random drawing to receive one of these 24 titles, which are being graciously provided by our publisher colleagues. The titles that have been selected are a mix of finished books and advance reading copies. Your name will not be used for any other mailing. Please note that if you are under 13, you must have your parents complete a form for you to be eligible to be entered in the contest. At the end of the survey you will be told where to access this form. 1,000 books will be given away.

If you know other readers who may be interested in responding to this survey, may we ask you to forward this link to them? The more voices that are heard for this, the better!

The survey will close on September 15, 2009 at 11:59 PM. Please click here to answer the survey NOW.

One quick note: Given customs and mailing restrictions, the prize offerings are only available to residents of the United States and Canada. To our international readers, we welcome your participation and regret we cannot send prizes overseas.

Click here to take part in the 2009 Reader Survey.

New Special Feature and Giveaway: THE 39 CLUES, Book Five: THE BLACK CIRCLE by Patrick Carman
THE 39 CLUES, Book Five: THE BLACK CIRCLE by Patrick Carman
The hunt for the 39 Clues leads Amy and Dan to their most treacherous destination yet --- a frozen land of Cahill secrets and betrayals. With danger chasing close behind, the siblings must track down one of history’s greatest lost treasures. Governments were toppled and rulers were killed during the last attempt to find it. Do Amy and Dan even stand a chance? is giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of THE BLACK CIRCLE. Enter the giveaway today and join the international clue hunt!

-Click here for all the contest details
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BLACK CIRCLE.
-Click here to read Patrick Carman’s bio.
-Visit the official website of the series,


Click here to read a review of THE BLACK CIRCLE.

New Special Feature: BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY) by Lisa Yee
BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY) written by Lisa Yee and illustrated by Dan Santat
Meet Robert Carver Ellis-Chan --- a perfectly normal fourth grader who gets into perfectly crazy situations! Like when he was running for class president and discovered his big sister's panties (static-) clinging to the back of his sweater. Or when he got stuck to the rare, sticky (and stinky) Koloff tree on a field trip…. Then there's his family --- busy mom, ex-pro football player dad, a bossy older sister, and an adoring younger one --- and best friends (one of whom is a secret, because she's a *girl*). Life may be complicated for Bobby, but it's going to turn out just fine.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY).
-Click here to read Lisa Yee’s bio.


Click here to read a review of BOBBY VS. GIRLS (ACCIDENTALLY).


Win a Copy of AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko

AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko is a crowd-pleasing sequel sequel to her Newbery Honor-winning AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS. The story of Moose and his adventures in Alcatraz continues, and this time he may owe a favor to one of the most infamous mobsters of all time. To celebrate the September 8th release of this much-anticipated follow-up book, is giving away 15 copies to our readers.

AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko

Moose and the cons are about to get a lot closer in this much-anticipated sequel to AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS.


It’s 1935. Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz with his family, the other families of the guards, and a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, mad dog murderers and a handful of bank robbers too. And one of those cons has just done him a big favor.


You see, Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose’s freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.

As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can’t risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?

-Click here to read an excerpt from AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES.


Click here for all the contest details.

Win a Copy of BEDEVILED: DADDY'S LITTLE ANGEL by Shani Petroff

There's nothing like a little father-daughter bonding time, right? Well...that is unless your dad is the Devil.

To celebrate the August 20th release of Shani Petroff's BEDEVILED: DADDY'S LITTLE ANGEL
, is giving 20 readers the opportunity to win a copy of the book. All Angel’s father (a.k.a. the Devil) wants is to be a part of his daughter's life. But even though he can give Angel anything she desires, what if what she wants most is a normal dad? Enter the giveaway now for your chance to receive a copy of BEDEVILED and find out what happens!

“Mom always said my dad is the devil. I never knew she meant it literally!”

All Angel’s father (a.k.a. the Devil) wants is to be a part of her life. And in return he has the power to give her anything she wants --- including popularity and a date with her long-time crush, Cole Daniels. But Angel will only accept him on her terms: get out of the devil business and leave his special powers out of the equation. Is Angel condemning herself to an eternity of lunch at the losers’ table? Or can she and Daddy Dearest strike some kind of deal?
Click here for all the contest details.

Now in Stores: RANGER'S APPRENTICE, Book 6: THE SIEGE OF MACINDAW by John Flanagan
In this latest installment of John Flangan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series, the Ranger Will and his Knight friend Horace are at odds with the traitorous Sir Keren, who has overtaken the Castle Macindaw. The future of Araluen is threatened, and it’s up to the young warriors to defend those they love. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.
Click here to read a review of THE SIEGE OF MACINDAW.


Don't Miss: OCEANOLOGY: The True Account of the Voyage of the Nautilus

OCEANOLOGY: The True Account of the Voyage of the Nautilus written by Ferdinand Zoticus deLessups and edited by Dugald A. Steer
What if a 16-year-old assistant traveled aboard the storied Nautilus, the narwhal-shaped submarine of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA? And what if he were the sole survivor of the ill-fated voyage and went on to relay his adventures to a certain…Jules Verne? Find this brave young man’s own account in OCEANOLOGY, a tale of an 866 voyage of discovery that investigates diving bells and shipwrecks; coral reefs and ice canyons; sharks, giant octopi and luminous sea monsters; underwater volcanoes; and even the legendary island of Atlantis.
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

Click here to read a review of OCEANOLOGY. Talks to Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, Creators of Babymouse
Growing up in Pennsylvania, siblings Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm developed a love of comics early on. Years later, the two parlayed their reading habits into one of the most successful series for kids: Babymouse. With nearly a dozen books in the Babymouse series already published, the duo is now releasing BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER, a hilarious book that pits Babymouse against a might dragon. The two talked to’s John Hogan about how they work together, how the series came about, and what’s next for their tiny protagonist.

BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm

In a distant kingdom a growing darkness falls over the land.

One is called to defend…to bring hope…to slay the Mighty Dragon….

Could it be…Babymouse? Find out when Babymouse leads her fellow Mathletes in the quest of a lifetime, a death-defying fight to win back both her school’s honor and the coveted GOLDEN SLIDE RULE. Our brave young hero must face not just the evil Owlgorithms but also her own personal dragon --- MATH. Destined for glory, for greatness, for bookstores and libraries everywhere, this is the epic adventure fans have been waiting for!

-Click here to read more about BABYMOUSE: DRAGONSLAYER.

Click here to read an interview with Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm.


JUDY MOODY & STINK: THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Judy Moody and Stink travel with their parents to "Artichoke Island" (otherwise known as North Carolina's Ocracoke Island), where they meet a swashbuckling pirate and join forces in an exciting hunt for pirate treasure. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Click here to read a review of THE MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD TREASURE HUNT.


Coming Soon: Books Releasing in the Months Ahead

Curious about what books will be released in the months ahead? Then be sure to check out our Coming Soon feature on We have titles for September through December listed. Please note that we have not included every book coming out, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.
Click here to see what's Coming Soon.

Cool New Books for August
August’s roundup of Cool New Books includes THE SIEGE OF MACINDAW, the sixth installment in John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice fantasy/adventure series; THE BLACK CIRCLE by Patrick Carman, book five in The 39 Clues series, in which the hunt for the 39 Clues leads Amy and Dan to their most treacherous destination yet --- a frozen land of Cahill secrets and betrayals; WILD GIRL, an irresistible story from Patricia Reilly Giff about a girl who is determined to befriend and ride the wild filly her father has just bought; THE FACELESS ONES, the third outrageous adventure of Valkyrie Cain (aka 14-year-old Stephanie Edgley) and snappy sidekick Skulduggery Pleasant, skeleton detective; and Lauren Child’s delightful retelling of the classic fairy tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”
Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for August.

August's New in Paperback Roundup

August’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE TIME PARADOX, the sixth installment in Eoin Colfer’s fantasy series that continues the story of teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl; THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES, the highly anticipated sequel to THE SEA OF TROLLS from National Book Award winner and Newbery Honor author Nancy Farmer; KINGDOM KEEPERS II: DISNEY AT DAWN, which marks the return of our heroes from Ridley Pearson’s DISNEY AFTER DARK as they embark on another adventure to save Walt Disney World; THE NEW GIRL, book two in Meg Cabot's middle-grade series featuring Allie Finkle, who's starting fourth grade at a brand-new school; and THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman, an inventive and interactive page-turner in which a determined young boy sets out to win the Golly Toy & Game Company's ultimate competition --- his future happiness depends on it.

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

This Month's Reviews Reviews:

CHANGE-UP: Mystery at the World Series by John Feinstein
An underdog team stuns the baseball world by winning the National League Championship Series. An obscure minor leaguer is called up late to pitch in the “Bigs.” In John Feinstein’s latest sports mystery, teen reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson uncover a secret that could affect the outcome of the World Series. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

SENT: The Missing, Book 2 by Margaret Peterson Haddix
In FOUND, Jonah’s life turns completely upside down when he finds out that he is a stolen kid from history. Now J.B., a time officer, is trying to fix the damages by sending the children back in time to “when” they belong. Jonah’s friend, Chip, is one of the first, and Jonah and his sister, Katherine, latch onto Chip and Alex as they speed back in time. They end up in the year 1483, where Chip and Alex are the king and prince of England --- and someone is out to murder them. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

OATH BREAKER: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, Book Five by Michelle Paver
Nine moons ago, Torak was an outcast --- the hunted. Now he turns hunter when he vows to avenge the murder of his kinsman. Torak follows the killer into the Deep Forest, where the clans are on the brink of war, for they have succumbed to the lies of the Soul Eaters. Here Torak must face fire, violence and, ultimately, overwhelming evil as he comes face to face with his kinsman’s murderer at last. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

When a mysterious envelope arrives for Jake Ransom, he and his older sister, Kady, are plunged into a gripping chain of events. An artifact found by their archaeologist parents on the expedition from which they never returned leads Jake and Kady to a strange world inhabited by a peculiar mix of long-lost civilizations, a world that may hold the key to their parents' disappearance --- if Jake and Kady can survive long enough to solve the mystery. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE GECKO & STICKY: VILLAIN’S LAIR written by Wendelin Van Draanen and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
Thirteen-year-old Dave Sanchez finds himself mixed up with a talking kleptomaniac gecko lizard, Sticky, who has stolen an ancient Aztec wristband that promises the wearer special powers. The dastardly Damien Black, however, possesses the power ingots that click into the wristband. Thus begins Dave and Sticky’s zany quest to become superheroes. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE GECKO & STICKY: THE GREATEST POWER written by Wendelin Van Draanen and illustrated by Stephen Gilpin
The evil treasure hunter Damien Black needs some quick cash --- so he robs the local bank. But Damien Black didn’t figure Dave Sanchez into his plan. Dave has been itching to try out the Invisibility Ingot in his magical wrist band, and here’s the perfect opportunity to make like a superhero! So Dave and Sticky set off after the robber, determined to retrieve the bank’s money. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

RAPACIA: The Second Circle of Heck by Dale E. Basye
Siblings Marlo and Milton Fauster are once again subject to the whims of Heck. Marlo is drawn to a large metal rabbit that has mysterious plans for her kleptomaniac skills. Back on the surface, Milton has his own struggles as he attempts to reach Marlo and somehow reconnect his body and soul. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

STRAWBERRY HILL by Mary Ann Hoberman
When 10-year-old Allie learns that her family will be moving from their two-family home to their very own house in the country, she's hesitant until she finds out they will be living on a street with the magical name of Strawberry Hill. From her struggle to find a new best friend, to her quest for acceptance at her new school, Allie takes readers on her journey to make Strawberry Hill feel like home. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

CONFETTI GIRL by Diana López
Lina Flores and her father are recovering from her mother's death. Meanwhile, she invents quite the sock system, fumbles in academics (and so loses out on her beloved sports), embarks on her first romance, and tries to maintain best friendship equilibrium. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE CURSE OF THE ROMANY WOLVES written by S. Jones Rogan and illustrated by Christian Slade
The creatures of Porthleven are suffering from a mysterious illness that looks like Febra lupi, the curse of the Romany wolves, which has no known cure. The dashing apothecary fox Penhaligon must find a cure or risk losing everyone he holds dear. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

DARKWOOD by M. E. Breen
Darkness falls so quickly in Howland that the people there have no word for evening. But darkness comes in other forms, and for 13-year-old Annie, the misery she endures in her uncle’s household makes the black of night seem almost soothing. When Annie escapes, her route takes her first to a dangerous mine where a precious stone is being stolen by an enemy of the king, and later to the king’s own halls, where a figure from Annie’s past makes a startling appearance. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read our reviews.

Graphic Novel Reviews:

AMULET, BOOK TWO: THE STONEKEEPER’S CURSE written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi
After running into deadly trouble in the magical kingdom they've been led to, Emily and her brother Navin must go on separate quests in order to rescue their mother from death. Reviewed by John Hogan.

KNIGHTS OF THE LUNCH TABLE #2: THE DRAGON PLAYERS written and illustrated by Frank Cammuso
Knights of the Lunch Table must do battle with the school bullies --- not in person, but with remote-controlled robots. There’s a touch of medieval magic in this story, but the real appeal lies in its kinetic humor and kid-first point of view. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

-Click here to read our graphic novel reviews.


Poll and Question: Reading Popular Books


Do you read books that are especially popular (for example, Harry Potter, The 39 Clues, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, etc.)?

All of the time
Some of the time

Do you experience “book guilt” if you haven’t read a book that everyone else seems to have read?

Not sure

-Click here to participate in the poll.


Name up to three books that you felt you HAD to read because it seemed everyone else had.

-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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