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March, 2010 Newsletter
for Parents
March 2010
March Madness

March had me traveling to Portland and Seattle, which was one busy but great trip. It was fun visiting bookstores in these cities and meeting readers and some of our reviewers. I am now in the Outer Banks for Spring Break and look forward to catching up on my reading.

Yesterday the weather was rainy and cloudy, and we decided to do the best rainy day activity we know --- go to the movies! Our obvious choice: Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Have you had a chance to see it yet with your family? I laughed a lot, and so did my son and his friend. Whether you have seen it or not, don't miss THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY by Jeff Kinney, which gives you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the transition from the written page to the big screen. If you and your child are fans of the Wimpy Kid series, or have ever wondered how movies are made, this is the perfect book for you. The editor of the Wimpy Kid books is Charles Kochman. I wanted to share with you a link to a story he wrote about discovering the book at a trade show and how he felt watching the movie. It has some cool pictures, too. You can read it here.

As you know, the voice of our young readers matters a lot to us here at, and we have two opportunities for them to weigh in with their opinion.

Recently, we launched a 5-Minute Survey (yes, it's that quick and easy to take!), and we would love for readers to participate and give us their feedback. The survey is targeted to readers ages 8-18. Twelve participants who complete the survey will be randomly selected to win a prize. Voting closes on Thursday, April 1st at 11:59PM ET, so spread the word to the young people in your life. And if you are a teacher or a librarian reading this, please share with your students or patrons. Click here for more details.

The second opportunity our readers have to share their voice and opinion is the 2010 Children's Choice Book Awards. The Children’s Book Council has announced the finalists for the third annual Children's Choice Book Awards, and it's up to young readers all over the country to help pick the winners. Click here and be sure your child votes before May 3rd. Remember: Every vote counts!

To celebrate the paperback release of SAVVY by Ingrid Law, is giving away 15 copies of the Newbery Honor book. In SAVVY, members of the Beaumont family receive a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn 13. If your son or daughter could have a magical power, what would it be? While you help them think of the perfect one, click here for all the contest details.

The Willoughby parents are not very fond of their children, and the truth is that the Willoughby siblings are not too keen on their parents either. When their mother and father devise an evil plan to get rid of them, it's up to the Willoughby children to come up with a plan of their own. To find out more about THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry, now available in paperback, click here and be sure to read our review and an excerpt. It's a very amusing tale that features references to some very well-known fairy tales and classic stories. I had a chance to talk to Lois Lowry, and she shared some drawings that she had done that inspired the story (she illustrated the book).

Amazing photos accompany a fun search-and-find game by Walter Wick, the creator of award-winning picture books and photographer of the bestselling I Spy series. CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? TREASURE SHIP provides a fun, pirate-themed adventure for children of all ages. Look inside the book here.

Does your child love dogs? If so, he or she must check out the fifth book in the Pet Trouble series by T.T. Sutherland, OH NO, NEWF!, and read an excerpt. We also had a chance to chat with the author about how she researched the animals she portrays in her books, which included a part-time job as a dog walker. Read our interview here.

Baseball season is upon us, which coincides perfectly with the release of THE BATBOY by Mike Lupica, now available in stores. Follow Brian Dudley, the new batboy for his hometown’s major league team, the Detroit Tigers. This is a great book, especially for boys and baseball fans. Read our review and an excerpt.

Speaking of great reads for boys, we have recently updated our Great Books for Boys feature, which includes titles like POWERLESS by Matthew Cody and THE UNUSUAL MIND OF VINCENT SHADOW by Tim Kehoe, so be sure to take a look at our latest additions.

And for all our Meg Cabot fans, GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT, the fifth book in the Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series, is now in stores. Find out more about the newest installment with our review and an excerpt.

This month we have two series feature updates. The first is LITTLE SHOP OF HAMSTERS, book #14 in the Goosebumps Horrorland series. Sam's after-school job at a pet store turns into a fight for survival as the shop's furry residents turn out to be anything but cute and cuddly. The second is an update to the Geronimo Stilton series, THEA STILTON AND THE GHOST OF THE SHIPWRECK. Join Geronimo's sister as she investigates the disappearance of her marine biology professor and a mysterious sunken ship.

And last, but certainly not least, congratulations to the winners of our giveaways for NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH and THE TOTAL TRAGEDY OF A GIRL NAMED HAMLET!

For more great reads to kick off spring, check out our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups and our latest reviews --- which include graphic novel, manga and manhwa titles. And don't forget to remind your child to vote in our poll, where we're asking kids if they keep a list of all the books they want to read.

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald for


Click here to answer our special 5-Minute Survey by Thursday, April 1st at 11:59PM ET.

Don't Miss: THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY by Jeff Kinney

THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY: How Greg Heffley Went Hollywood by Jeff Kinney
If you've ever wondered how a movie gets made, you're not alone. Author and illustrator Jeff Kinney didn't know either, but when his bestselling series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, was turned into a live-action movie by 20th Century Fox, he learned how a book gets adapted into a major motion picture. Complete with photographs, script pages, storyboard sketches, costume designs and original art by Kinney, THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY is the perfect companion to the bestselling series. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here for more details about the film.

Click here to read a review of THE WIMPY KID MOVIE DIARY.


Win a Paperback Copy of SAVVY by Ingrid Law

SAVVY is an imaginative coming-of-age story about a gifted family whose members are given a supernatural power when they turn 13. To celebrate the long-awaited paperback release of Ingrid Law's award-winning debut novel, is giving away 15 copies of this charmingly magical tale.

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 weren'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 a review of SAVVY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SAVVY.
-Click here to read our 2008 interview with Ingrid Law.
-Click here to visit the book's official website.
-Visit Ingrid Law’s official website,


Click here for all the contest details.

Now Available in Paperback: THE WILLOUGHBYS by Lois Lowry

The Willoughbys --- Timothy; his twin brothers, Barnaby A and Barnaby B; and their little sister, Jane --- are old-fashioned children who adore old-fashioned adventures. Unfortunately, the Willoughby parents are not very fond of their children, and the truth is that the siblings are not too keen on their parents either. Little do the Willoughby kids know that their neglectful mother and father are hatching an evil plan to get rid of them! Not to worry --- these resourceful adventurers have a few plans of their own.

-Click here to read a review of THE WILLOUGHBYS.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THE WILLOUGHBYS.


Click here to read more about THE WILLOUGHBYS.


New Special Feature: CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? TREASURE SHIP by Walter Wick

Amazing photos accompany a fun search-and-find game by Walter Wick, the creator of award-winning picture books and photographer of the bestselling I Spy series.

A pirate ship and a chest of gold take readers on a journey through time that leads to the location of purloined treasures. Beginning with a zoom of a gold coin, photographs pull back to reveal the story of the coin’s travels from the hull of a pirate ship in the 1700s to the shore of a beach town today. Wick has built a series of sets that tell a story and create a game that will delight and challenge readers of all ages.

-Click here to read Walter Wick’s bio.

Click here to look inside CAN YOU SEE WHAT I SEE? TREASURE SHIP.

Special Feature: PET TROUBLE #5: OH NO, NEWF! by T.T. Sutherland

T.T. Sutherland is a prolific author who has written a number of books under the pen names Erin Hunter, Tamara Summers and Heather Williams. In this interview with’s Donna Volkenannt, Sutherland discusses her latest work, OH NO, NEWF!, the fifth installment in her Pet Trouble series, and describes how --- from watching “Dogs 101” to getting a part-time job as a dog walker --- she researched the animals she portrays in her books. She also talks about her own furry friend, Sunshine, recounts a recent experience as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” and shares details about future books currently in the works.

PET TROUBLE #5: OH NO, NEWF! by T.T. Sutherland
Heidi always thought that she was energetic enough for any dog. She loves to play and run around and wants a big, enthusiastic dog to play with her and love her. But Yeti the Newfoundland might be a little more love than Heidi bargained for. He’s HUGE, and massively furry, and everything he does --- jumping, wrestling, flopping --- makes the whole house shake. Heidi loves Yeti, and she loves how much he loves her…but is there really room enough for both of them?

-Click here to read a review of OH NO, NEWF!|
-Click here to read an excerpt from OH NO, NEWF!
-Click here to read T.T. Sutherland’s bio.
-Visit T.T. Sutherland’s official website,


Click here to read our interview with T.T. Sutherland.

Now in Stores: THE BATBOY by Mike Lupica

THE BATBOY by Mike Lupica
Brian Dudley has every baseball kid’s summer dream job: he’s a batboy for his hometown’s major league team, the Detroit Tigers. Even more exciting, his idol, Hank Bishop, is returning to the sport after a 50-game suspension to play for the Tigers. Will Bishop be able to make a comeback after the steroids scandal that nearly ended his career? Will Brian find the hero he so desperately needs? Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE BATBOY.

Click here to read a review of THE BATBOY.

Now in Stores: ALLIE FINKLE'S RULES FOR GIRLS: Book Five - Glitter Girls and the Great Fake Out, by Meg Cabot

ALLIE FINKLE’S RULES FOR GIRLS: Book Five – Glitter Girls and the Great Fake Out by Meg Cabot
Allie plans on having the best weekend ever when she finds out her best friend Erica's sister Missy is in the regional Twirltacular baton competition. She's going with all her friends...until Allie's mom announces that Allie has to go to Brittany Hauser's birthday party instead! Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read an excerpt from GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT.

Click here to read a review of GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT.


Series Feature Updates: Goosebumps Horrorland and Geronimo Stilton

Sam Waters is desperate to have a pet. But his parents say that first, Sam must prove he's responsible. So he takes an after-school job in a pet store called Little Shop of Hamsters. To his horror, Sam soon finds that cute, little hamsters can become very UNCUTE monsters. Suddenly, Sam isn't fighting for a pet --- he's fighting to survive! Could the souvenir he got in HorrorLand have anything to do with this? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read a review of LITTLE SHOP OF HAMSTERS.
-Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature --- with updated trivia and characters.

During a marine biology lesson at Mouseford Academy, the Thea Sisters learn about a mysterious shipwreck off Whale Island. According to legend, a very rare diamond called Jasmine's Heart was on the ship when it sank. When biology teacher Professor Van Kraken disappears, the Thea Sisters have to dive into the deep ocean to find him and the jewel. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read a review of THEA STILTON AND THE GHOST OF THE SHIPWRECK.
-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature --- with updated trivia and characters.




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.

UPDATED! We have added to our list to reflect those books that have been released since our last update in October 2009. Among our most recent additions are KINGDOM KEEPERS III: DISNEY IN SHADOW by Ridley Pearson, LORD SUNDAY by Garth Nix, POWERLESS by Matthew Cody, THE UNUSUAL MIND OF VINCENT SHADOW by Tim Kehoe and A WHOLE NOTHER STORY by Dr. Cuthbert Soup.


Click here to see our complete list of Great Books for Boys, along with the latest additions at the top of the page.

Vote for Your Favorite Books, Authors and Illustrators of 2009 in the Children's Choice Book Awards

The Children’s Book Council has announced the finalists for the third annual Children's Choice Book Awards. The favorite book finalists were determined by close to 15,000 children and teens. Thousands more can cast their votes for their favorite books, authors and illustrators at bookstores, schools, libraries and at until May 3rd.

The Children’s Choice Book Awards winners will be announced live at the Children’s Choice Book Awards gala on May 11th in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 10-16th), the oldest national literacy event in the United States.


Click here to cast your votes for the 2010 Children's Choice Book Awards.

Cool New Books for March
March’s roundup of Cool New Books includes LORD SUNDAY, the thrilling conclusion to Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series, in which Arthur Penhaligon must confront Lord Sunday, save the Kingdom he is heir to --- and save his own world; GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT, book five in Meg Cabot’s tween series that finds Allie Finkle’s weekend plans turned upside down when her mom announces she must attend the birthday party of a girl she doesn’t even like; THE BATBOY, Mike Lupica’s latest sports novel about an unlikely friendship that slowly develops between a man in need of a family and a boy in need of a father; RIVALS by Tim Green, which marks the return of Josh LeBlanc and his friends Jaden and Benji from BASEBALL GREAT; and Jane O’Connor’s FANCY NANCY: POET EXTRAORDINAIRE!, in which Fancy Nancy is determined to write a superb poem for her class assignment --- but what happens when she can't think of a good idea?
Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for March.

March's New in Paperback Roundup

March’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE WILLOUGHBYS by two-time Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry, in which four thoroughly old-fashioned children seek happiness, fortune --- and a way to get rid of their parents; THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET, a feel-good follow-up to Jeanne Birdsall’s National Book Award-winning THE PENDERWICKS; SAVVY, an enchanting first novel from Ingrid Law about the Beaumont family, whose members have harbored a magical secret: they each possess a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn 13; THE DIAMOND OF DARKHOLD, the fourth and final Book of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau that finds Linda and Doon having to go back underground; and ANYTHING BUT TYPICAL, a moving portrayal of family, love and bravery in which Nora Raleigh Baskin shows readers the world through the unique perspective of an autistic 12-year-old boy.

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

This Month's Reviews Reviews:

The bears have finally reached The Last Great Wilderness in their fourth adventure, but is this where they’re meant to be? Before they can find out, one bear is pushed to the brink of death, and saving him means venturing into the dangerous territory of the human world. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper
Multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper tackles disability and prejudice in OUT OF MY MIND, a deeply personal, moving story full of heartache and hope inspired by Draper’s own family experiences. Eleven-year-old Melody is a girl whose voice readers will never forget. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

STINK: SOLAR SYSTEM SUPERHERO written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
In Stink’s latest energetic fact-filled adventure, Judy Moody’s little brother learns all about the planets…and what he finds out about poor Pluto makes him determined to rescue it from non-planet status. But the path to hero-hood is filled with obstacles. Is “Pluto Head” Stink up to the challenge? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

COSMIC by Frank Cottrell Boyce
How does 12-year-old Liam find himself (along with his "daughter" and four other kids) hurtling through outer space in a rocket --- and what has gone so dreadfully wrong that they have no hope of setting foot on Earth again? The explanation, relayed by Liam in flashbacks, evolves into a hilarious and exciting page-turner. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

As a newborn, Cirrus Flux was abandoned at an orphanage and left with only a tiny sphere rumored to hold the Breath of God. Twelve years later, Cirrus has no idea what the sphere holds or that people are willing to do anything to get it --- including murder. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

SLUGGERS #5: BLASTIN’ THE BLUES by Phil Bildner and Loren Long
In the fifth book of this turn-of-the-20th-century baseball series, Ruby, Graham and Griffith Payne and the Travelin’ Nine venture south from Minneapolis to barnstorm in St. Louis and New Orleans. On their journey, they meet a baseball legend, become aware of a spy in their midst and discover secrets about the magic baseball. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

A NEST FOR CELESTE: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home written and illustrated by Henry Cole
On a large plantation near New Orleans, a small, orphaned mouse named Celeste searches for a safe place to call home. Her task is made more difficult by a vigilant house cat, a large dog, two aggressive rats, and a severe thunderstorm. The famous wildlife artist Audubon and his young assistant, Joseph, just happen to be staying at the plantation. In exchange for providing dance and art lessons, Audubon is free to stay on the plantation to sketch and paint the abundant local wildlife. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

THE LOST CHILDREN by Carolyn Cohagan
In this outstanding fantasy/suspense novel, Josephine Russing is pulled from her regular home and life into a world full of people who face a mysterious villain named the “Master.” Magic is in the everyday fabric of this world, and as Josephine tries to find her way home, several children join her on the journey. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children. Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only 15 years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. Though she is eager to instruct the children in Latin verbs and the proper use of globes, first she must help them eliminate their canine tendencies. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

With a mesmerizing voice and delightful imagination, debut novelist Diane Zahler delivers a dazzling retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." She creates a sparkling world of enchanted princesses, spellbinding magic, true love --- and the young girl determined to save them all. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

-Click here to read our reviews.

Graphic Novel Reviews:

BABYMOUSE BURNS RUBBER written and illustrated by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Babymouse's big dreams of becoming a race car driver come true when she and her best pal, Wilson, enter the Race of the Century (or at least the school year). But will she and Wilson crash and burn? Or will they cruise to the Winners’ Circle? Reviewed by Merideth Jenson-Benjamin.

AMELIA EARHART: THIS BROAD OCEAN written by Sarah Stewart Taylor and illustrated by Ben Towle
Amelia Earhart discusses her background and her dreams with a young girl as she waits to embark on her first transatlantic journey in this quiet story. The backgrounds and scenery evoke the world that was passing away rather than the future Earhart was rushing toward. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

Manga Review:

DINOSAUR KING, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Yohei Sakai
Max is obsessed with dinosaurs. When he discovers a stone tablet that transports him to the age of dinosaurs, it's a dream come true --- until it becomes a nightmare. An evil genius named Dr. Z has enslaved the dinosaurs so he can use their hidden powers to take over the world. Now Max has to defeat Dr. Z and his Alpha Gang to save the ancient beasts and life as we know it. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

Manhwa Review:

ONE FINE DAY, Volume 1 written and illustrated by Sirial
Take one fussy dog, a rain-loving cat and a little mouse with a big sweet tooth, mix in a sprinkle of sunshine and a dash of magic, and you have a recipe for adventure! Whether they're baking cookies, cleaning up, or helping out a friend, this trio always manages to stir up a healthy helping of mischief and fun. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

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


This Month's Poll: Book Lists

Do you keep lists of the books you want to read?

Yes, all the time
Yes, sometimes
No, but this is a good idea
Not sure


Click here to answer the poll.


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