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January 2011

 
Kidsreads.com Newsletter for Parents January 2011

In With the New in 2011!

Everywhere we look, people are talking about the weather; last week, 49 states all had snow, and most people are seeing temperatures that are a lot lower than usual across the country. We here in New York just got hit with 16 inches of snow, and the novelty is wearing off. My son has missed four days of school, and I confess that when the phone rings at 5AM, I wonder WHO in our town is getting up that early for school. Around our house, a 6:30 call would be just fine! Spring isn't that far off, though --- only 50 more days to go (but who's counting?).

In case you missed our last email, we kicked off 2011 with the ALA Youth Media Awards, honoring some of the best books published in 2010 for kids and teens, which includes the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. Click here to read about the winning titles and honor books.


And there's lots of new book news to be talking about as well!

In stores now is the latest addition to the classic Dear America series, LIKE THE WILLOW TREE: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce - Portland, Maine, 1918 by Lois Lowry, in which a young girl who is orphaned by the Spanish flu must conform to the ways of Shaker life.

Patrick Carman is back with
SHANTORIAN, the second installment in his Trackers series. Adam and his friends are accused by the FBI of stealing four billion dollars. Suddenly, Adam is questioning who he can --- and cannot --- trust.

SPHDZ Book #2! by Jon Scieszka is also out now. In the second installment of this wild and wacky series, Michael K. and his SPHDZ alien friends continue to try to get 3.4 million and one humans to join the SPHDZ group in order to save Earth.

In our Special Feature spotlight is CLARA LEE AND THE APPLE PIE DREAM by Jenny Han. Clara Lee wants to win the Little Miss Apple Pie contest, and when her good luck streak lasts all day long, she thinks she might have a chance. But then her luck takes a downward spiral, and Clara Lee is afraid it won't right itself in time for the contest. Read our review and an interview with the author.

If your children are in the mood for comics, they're in for a treat this month, as we're featuring three outstanding graphic novels.

Be sure not to miss LUNCH LADY AND THE BAKE SALE BANDIT by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, which marks the return of our favorite crime-fighting cafeteria worker. This time, all the bake sale snacks are M.I.A., and someone has it out for the Breakfast Bunch.


In PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Dan McGuiness, best buds Pilot and Huxley land themselves in another dimension while aliens try to conquer Earth. They need to make it home, but along the way they encounter some pretty odd stuff, like a sea of bees and a girl who can transform into a monster. Check out our review, read our interview with the author, and look at a few pages here with your kids.

We're giving away 25 copies of MISSILE MOUSE: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3, the highly anticipated follow-up to Jake Parker's MISSILE MOUSE: THE STAR CRUSHER. For his new mission, Missile Mouse bounds across the galaxy to save a planet from the clutches of the evil King Bognarsh and his favorite hired gun, the Blazing Bat! Click here to take a peek inside the new book with your kids.

Black History Month kicks off on February 1st, and we have a great roundup of books to celebrate. Join us in recognizing the contributions of and the hardships endured by the African American community.

Halloween may be long gone, but the fear doesn't stop with the Goosebumps HorrorLand series by R.L. Stine. We have updated trivia and a review of the latest book, THE HORROR AT CHILLER HOUSE, so be sure to check it out. We've also updated our Geronimo Stilton series feature with the release of THE GIANT DIAMOND ROBBERY.

Among the highlights in our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups are FEAR ITSELF, book two in Andrew Clements's Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series; LITTLE WHITE RABBIT by Kevin Henkes, a heartwarming tale of an adventurous rabbit who discovers that anything is possible; THE LAST OLYMPIAN, the fifth and final installment in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians series; and PETER AND THE SWORD OF MERCY by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, a continuation of the popular Peter and the Starcatchers series.

Lastly, make sure your kids head on over to our poll and tell us: Do they need to hold a book and flip through it before buying it, or can they make a decision just from reading a description of it online?

Stay warm everyone!

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

 

The 2011 ALA Youth Media Awards

Each year the American Library Association (ALA) honors books and media for children and teens. Recognized worldwide for the high quality they represent, ALA awards --- including the Newbery, Caldecott, Sibert and Coretta Scott King Book Awards --- guide parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. Selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts, the awards encourage original and creative work in the field of children’s and young adult literature and media.
 

Click here to see this year's winning titles and honor books.

 

Now in Stores: DEAR AMERICA: LIKE THE WILLOW TREE by Lois Lowry

DEAR AMERICA: LIKE THE WILLOW TREE: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce - Portland, Maine, 1918 by Lois Lowry

Suddenly orphaned by the Spanish flu epidemic in the fall of 1918, Lydia Pierce and her older brother, Daniel, are taken by their uncle to the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake --- where she’s separated from Daniel. Thrust into an unfamiliar way of life, Lydia’s new world is nothing like the one she knew. But with the help of time and her courageous spirit, she learns to find joy again. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez.

-Click here to read our Dear America series feature.

 

Click here to read a review of LIKE THE WILLOW TREE.

 

Now in Stores: TRACKERS, Book Two: SHANTORIAN by Patrick Carman

TRACKERS, Book Two: SHANTORIAN by Patrick Carman

In this second installment of Patrick Carman’s newest series, the FBI is interrogating the Trackers over four billion dollars that turned up missing from the system. The FBI believes that Adam and his friends are guilty of stealing the money, but the Trackers have video evidence to prove otherwise. When suspicions start to fly, Adam is not sure who he can trust, even among his own friends. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.
 

Click here to read a review of SHANTORIAN.

 

Now in Stores: LUNCH LADY AND THE BAKE SALE BANDIT by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

LUNCH LADY AND THE BAKE SALE BANDIT by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

The Breakfast Bunch is excited for the upcoming bake sale --- and raising money for an awesome field trip. But when all the snacks go missing, it's no laughing matter. Someone is sabotaging the bake sale. But why? Lunch Lady and the Breakfast Bunch are hot on the trail, one brownie crumb at a time. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

 

Click here to read a review of LUNCH LADY AND THE BAKE SALE BANDIT.

 

Now in Stores: SPHDZ Book #2! by Jon Scieszka

SPHDZ Book #2! written by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Shane Prigmore

In this second installment of Jon Scieszka’s wild and wacky series, Michael K. and his SPHDZ alien friends continue to try to get 3.4 million and one humans to join the SPHDZ group. Their goal, of course, is to save Earth. But even with new helpers, they have their work cut out for them. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

 

Click here to read a review of SPHDZ Book #2!.

 

New Special Feature: CLARA LEE AND THE APPLE PIE DREAM by Jenny Han

Jenny Han is the cinnamon bun-baking author of CLARA LEE AND THE APPLE PIE DREAM, which follows a spunky third-grader as she tries to overcome a truly terrible nightmare --- along with a nasty bout of bad luck --- in time to win the Little Miss Apple Pie contest and make her baking dreams come true. In this interview, Han talks about the unpublished picture book that inspired her latest work, elaborating on the importance of grandparents and what it’s like grow up in a multigenerational home. She also gives the scoop on why she dreaded Christmas as a kid, reveals what she and Clara Lee have in common, and reflects on why, over the years, she’s felt like such a lucky gal.


CLARA LEE AND THE APPLE PIE DREAM written by Jenny Han, illustrated by Julia Kuo

Clara Lee likes her best friends, her grandpa, kimchi, candy necklaces (her signature look!), and the idea of winning the Little Miss Apple Pie contest.

Clara Lee doesn't like her mom's fish soup, bad dreams (but Grandpa says they mean good luck!), speaking in public, or when her little sister is being annoying.

One day, after a bad dream, Clara Lee is thrilled to have a whole day of luck (Like!). But then, bad luck starts to follow (Dislike!). When will Clara Lee's luck change again? Will it change in time for the Little Miss Apple Pie contest?


-Click here to read a review of CLARA LEE AND THE APPLE PIE DREAM.

-Click here to read Jenny Han’s bio.
 

Click here to read an interview with Jenny Han.

 

New Special Feature: PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Dan McGuiness

Dan McGuiness is thrilling readers with his hilarious (and somewhat disgusting) graphic novel, PILOT & HUXLEY, which follows two best buds who get zapped into another dimension by a group of evil space aliens. In this interview with Kidsreads.com’s Donna Volkenannt, McGuiness talks about what made him decide to create his first-ever graphic novel, elaborating on why he thinks comics are the best way to tell a story and how his childhood drawings helped him get there. He also names a few of his favorite authors, explains why you should never forget to return a video game, and reveals how he went from working in a factory to creating an award-winning comic.


PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Dan McGuiness

In this funny comic, best buddies Pilot and Huxley get zapped to another dimension by aliens seeking to enslave the planet Earth. Things get even weirder when they have to traverse a swamp made of bees, battle a sea monster, and seek the golden nose-hair of a giant dragon. But with some luck, some fast thinking, and a lot of help from a girl who can transform into a monster, they might just make it back home in one piece.


-Click here to read a review of PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE.

-Click here to look inside PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE.

-Click here to read Dan McGuiness’s bio.

 

Click here to read our interview with Dan McGuiness.


 

Win a Copy of MISSILE MOUSE #2: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3 by Jake Parker

In THE STAR CRUSHER, Missile Mouse was on a mission to save the galaxy from surefire doom after a scientist equipped with the knowledge to create a black hole had been kidnapped. This knowledge was a dangerous weapon soon to be used by the baddies, until Missile Mouse foiled their plans. Now, in RESCUE ON TANKIUM3, the feisty secret agent has a new assignment: to free a planet forced into slavery by evil King Bognarsh. But things get dicey when Bognarsh hires the Blazing Bat to take Missile Mouse out before he can shut down the operation.

 

To celebrate the release of Jake Parker’s latest graphic novel, Kidsreads.com is giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Monday, March 28th at noon ET.

 

MISSILE MOUSE #2: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3 written and illustrated by Jake Parker

Missile Mouse, secret agent for the Galactic Security Agency, is back in a new adventure! For his new mission, he bounds across the galaxy to save a planet from the clutches of the evil King Bognarsh and his favorite hired gun, the Blazing Bat!

 

-Click here to look inside MISSILE MOUSE #2: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3.

-Click here to read Jake Parker’s bio.

 

Click here to read all the contest details.

 

Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a time when America honors the struggles and successes of African Americans. This year, we at Kidsreads.com have complied a number of fiction and nonfiction titles about slavery, the civil rights movement, and the unforgettable contributions black artists and athletes have made to American culture. From legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong to "the mother of the freedom movement," Rosa Parks, these individuals all deserve to be remembered and celebrated not only during Black History Month, but throughout the entire year as well. We hope readers of all ages will be moved and inspired by their remarkable stories.
 
Click here to see our roundup of books celebrating Black History Month.

 

Series Feature Updates: Goosebumps HorrorLand and Geronimo Stilton

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #19: THE HORROR AT CHILLER HOUSE by R.L. Stine

Jonathan Chiller has called the kids from books #13-18 back to HorrorLand to collect payment. The only way for them to get back home is to win at a HorrorLand-style scavenger hunt. They each must find a red chest. Inside, the miniature Horror will act as a portal to return them to their loved ones. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


-Click here to read a review of THE HORROR AT CHILLER HOUSE.

-Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature with updated trivia and characters.


THE GIANT DIAMOND ROBBERY by Geronimo Stilton

Geronimo Stilton is no sportsmouse, but that doesn’t stop Grandfather William from dragging him to a golf tournament so that he can be his caddie. Once Geronimo arrives, he bumps into his friend Kornelius Von Kickpaw, aka Special Agent 00K. Someone is plotting to steal the Super Mouse Cup, and it’s up to Geronimo and Kornelius to crack the case. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


-Click here to read a review of THE GIANT DIAMOND ROBBERY.

-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature with updated trivia and characters.

 

Cool New Books for January

January’s roundup of Cool New Books includes SHANTORIAN, the second installment in Patrick Carman’s suspense-filled Trackers series, about four tech-savvy teens caught in a game of cat and mouse with the world’s most dangerous hacker; LIKE THE WILLOW TREE by Lois Lowry, the latest addition to the Dear America series, which tells the courageous story of an 11-year-old girl who must adjust to life in a Shaker community after being orphaned by the Spanish flu; FEAR ITSELF, book two in Andrew Clements’s Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series, in which Ben and Jill have to decipher a set of clues in order to save their school from Lyman, the (literally) snake-like school janitor; and LITTLE WHITE RABBIT by Kevin Henkes, a heartwarming tale of an adventurous rabbit who discovers that anything is possible.
 

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

 

January's New in Paperback Roundup

January's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE LAST OLYMPIAN, the fifth and final installment in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, in which Percy must defend a virtually unguarded Mount Olympus against an assault from the evil Kronos; INTO THE MIST, Patrick Carman's long-awaited prequel to the Land of Elyon trilogy, which tells of Thomas and Roland Warvold's relentless quest to discover their true identities --- one that will alter the fate of their homeland forever; PETER AND THE SWORD OF MERCY by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, in which Wendy must find a legendary weapon that will prevent the Others from seizing London's secret stash of starstuff --- and hopefully save her mother; and Gennifer Choldenko's AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES, which continues the story of Moose Flanagan, a prison guard's son who keeps receiving mysterious notes that may or may not be from the infamous Al Capone.
 
Click here to see what's New in Paperback for January.

 

This Month's Reviews

SAMMY KEYES AND THE WEDDING CRASHER by Wendelin Van Draanen
When Officer Borsch asks Sammy Keyes to be in his wedding (what was he thinking?!), naturally it all goes quite awry. The young detective not only has to deal with a poufy lavender dress, but she also needs to get to the bottom of a death threat to her least favorite teacher, while struggling with boy issues and mother troubles. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read our Sammy Keyes series feature with updated trivia.

THE RIVALRY: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game by John Feinstein
Teen sportswriters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson can't wait to cover "America's Game." Army and Navy have been football rivals since 1890, so they've spent weeks getting to know the players and the coaches. And the secret service. The president is attending, so security is extra tight. But nothing is as it seems --- and someone else is calling plays. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.


THE ROMEO AND JULIET CODE by Phoebe Stone
Felicity's parents have a secret. So they leave her with her closed-mouthed Uncle Gideon, her star-crossed Aunt Miami, and a kid named Derek, who won't leave his room. But Felicity needs his help. Gideon is getting coded letters from her parents and is sure they're in trouble. Can Felicity crack the code, heal her family, and survive her first crush? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


ELIZA'S FREEDOM ROAD: An Underground Railroad Diary by Jerdine Nolen
Eliza, a 12-year-old slave, lives on a tobacco farm in Virginia. She's lucky because Mistress taught her how to read and write, even though slaves are not allowed to do so. Eliza dreams of being free and finding her mother someday. Before long, she's on her own challenging and hopeful journey to freedom on a unique kind of railroad --- the Underground Railroad. Reviewed by Carole Turner.


THE STAR MAKER by Laurence Yep
If only Artie had kept his mouth shut! But his mean cousin Petey was putting him down, so Artie started bragging. Now he has to come up with enough money to buy firecrackers for all his cousins by the Lunar New Year. But luckily, there's one person he can count on: Uncle Chester! Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


ALMOST ZERO: A Dyamonde Daniel Book written by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Dyamonde really wants red high-top sneakers. According to her classmate, it's her mom's job to give her what she needs, but when Dyamonde tries that argument, her mom decides to teach her a lesson...and now she's down to almost zero outfits! Then Dyamonde finds out that her friend has it much worse, and she's determined to find a way to help. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.


BOBBY THE BRAVE (SOMETIMES) written by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat
Bobby Ellis-Chan is an awesome skateboarder, but he's lousy at football. He wishes he could measure up to his older sister, Annie, a quarterback on her high school's football team. Even more importantly, he wants to please his dad, "The Freezer," a former star NFL player. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.



Graphic Novel Reviews:

NANCY DREW, THE NEW CASE FILES: VAMPIRE SLAYER, Part One written by Stefan Petrucha and Sarah Kinney, illustrated by Sho Murase
Vampire-mania has gripped River Heights, with teenage girls going wild over the new "DieLite" novels and movies. But what happens when a supposedly "real" handsome young vampire arrives on the scene? Will Nancy Drew expose him as a fraud -- or fall under his dark spell? As if that wasn't enough, there's something dark and sinister happening while everyone is distracted by the vampire madness. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.


RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN written by Jim McCann, illustrated by Janet Lee
An epic fairy tale that's as vividly imaginative as it is wonderfully drawn, RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN is a magical treat. Set in a world where children who never age past 11 coexist peacefully with robots, it's a bright, sprawling tale that seems to ramble far from where it started without ever feeling as though it has stumbled even a step out of its way. Reviewed by John Hogan.



Manga Review:

CHI'S SWEET HOME, Volume 2 written and illustrated by Kanata Konami
In the second volume of Chi's Sweet Home, Chi's new world slowly begins to grow. As Yohei Yamada grows up, it is rapidly becoming apparent to his parents that Chi grows up twice as fast! Now moving into the feline version of the terrible twos, Chi's increasingly curious and independent behavior begins to wear on each member of the Yamada household. Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.


 

This Month's Poll: How Do YOU Prefer to Buy Books?

Before you buy a book, do you need to hold it and look through it, or can you buy it from a description online or from the description on printed order sheets for school book clubs?

I always need to hold a book and look through it before I buy it.

I sometimes need to hold a book and look through it before I buy it.

I never need to hold a book and look through it before I buy it.

I am not sure how I feel.

I do not buy books.

 

Click here to answer the poll.
 

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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