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April 2005 Newsletter

April 2005

What's New on

Cool New Books for April and National Poetry Month Talks to Iain Lawrence, Author of THE CONVICTS Talks to Ron Roy, Author of the A TO Z Mysteries

Series Update: Andrew Lost

Series Update: ARTEMIS FOWL #4: THE OPAL DECEPTION by Eoin Colfer

Series Update: Geronimo Stilton

Series Feature Update: DROWNED WEDNESDAY by Garth Nix

Reviews and Features
Poll: Reading for Pleasure
Question of the Month
Some Links on
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Read our newsletter online here
Series Feature
Play a Trivia Game here
Word Scrambles

Cool New Books for April and National Poetry Month

This week is TV Turnoff Week, so we are glad to be sharing some great new books --- and two terrific interviews with Iain Lawrence and Ron Roy, done by our own Shannon McKenna --- to give you something to do when the television is off.

Among the titles featured in April's roundup of cool new books is THE CONVICTS, an intriguing novel by Iain Lawrence about a boy who is convicted of a murder he did not commit. Beverly Cleary and the late Shel Silverstein will delight their fans once again, and Kenneth C. Davis provides readers with a wealth of information about world myths and mummies as his "Don't Know Much About" series continues.

Do you all know that April is National Poetry Month? Sooooo do you have a favorite poem? I love poems that rhyme more than poems that don't. What about you? Just something to think about.

My younger son wrote a poem for National Poetry Month that has no rhyme, but tells a story. It's based on a night when a moth was banging on his window. While the rest of the story never happened, this is what he imagined as he lay in his bed.

Here it is...

Moth banging on my window at night
Tap tap buzz tap bam buzz
Moth's banging on my window at night
Trying to sleep, but can't
Tap tap buzz tap bam buzz

Can't take it any more!
Gonna go downstairs
And get the bug spray and the swatter
Back upstairs
Put the swatter down
Open the window
Moth flies in
Spray it with bug spray
Which lands on the wall
Pick up the swatter and swat it off
Where does it land?
Right on the pillow on my bed.
At least now there's no

Tap tap buzz tap bam buzz
Inside there's a dead moth lying in my bed
Tap tap buzz tap bam buzz better?

Happy reading...

Carol Fitzgerald for ( Talks to Iain Lawrence, Author of THE CONVICTS contributing writer Shannon McKenna interviewed Iain Lawrence, author of THE CONVICTS. Lawrence describes how an incident that occurred when he was a child helped him write this story from the main protagonist's point of view. He also talks about the novel's historical setting, how he was able to accurately recreate life on a prisoner ship, the research required for his books, and what readers can expect from future installments in this intriguing series.

THE CONVICTS by Iain Lawrence
After seeing his father dragged off to debtor's prison, fourteen-year-old Tom Tin sets out to roam London's streets in search of some way to aid his family. He encounters a variety of unsavory characters, and the events of this one night drastically alter the course of his life. Reviewed by Shannon McKenna and excerpted.

Read our interview with Iain Lawrence and a review of THE CONVICTS here. Talks to Ron Roy, Author of the A TO Z Mysteries contributing writer Shannon McKenna interviewed Ron Roy, whose A TO Z mystery series concludes with THE ZOMBIE ZONE. Roy talks about Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose's final adventure and how he came up with the titles for each book. He also explains why he enjoys writing for children, offers advice to young people who would like to be authors, and discusses his latest writing project, which is sure to delight his many fans.

Play our new Word Scramble.

Play our A TO Z Trivia Game.

Print out a sheet where you can name your own A TO Z mysteries.



Read our interview with Ron Roy and our feature about the A TO Z Mysteries here.

Series Update: Andrew Lost

ANDREW LOST, Book 10: ON EARTH by J.C. Greenburg
Andrew, Judy and Thudd have escaped the Big Bang only to find themselves trapped inside the Earth as it forms all around them! Meanwhile Uncle Al is stranded in the Ice Age. Somehow the Dubbles must fix their time machine and rescue their uncle --- before he becomes dinner for a sabertooth tiger!



Read more about the Andrew Lost series here.

Series Update: ARTEMIS FOWL #4: THE OPAL DECEPTION by Eoin Colfer

THE OPAL DECEPTION marks the grimmest turn of events yet in the Artemis Fowl series, with the occurrence of a devastating and irreversible incident that will shake the very foundations of the fairy underworld.


Read more about THE OPAL DECEPTION and the Artemis Fowl series here.

Series Update: Geronimo Stilton



It appears that Geronimo's sister has come up with a new way to torment him, by combining his two least favorite things --- travel and ghosts. Thea has heard rumors of a haunted pirate treasure buried on a desert island, and she drags a reluctant Geronimo into her treasure hunt!


Click here to read more about the Geronimo Stilton series.

Series Feature Update: DROWNED WEDNESDAY by Garth Nix

Want to see how much you really know about Garth Nix's third installment of the "Keys to the Kingdom" series? Then test your knowledge (and memory) with 10 multiple choice questions about the book, written by reviewer Sarah Sawtelle. And be sure to keep your eyes open for those key people, places and things in our DROWNED WEDNESDAY word scramble.

Click here to read our review of DROWNED WEDNESDAY and more about The Keys to the Kingdom series.

Reviews and Features

WOLF BROTHER: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1, by Michelle Paver
Six thousand years ago, evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it, in Michelle Paver's first book in "The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness." Their journey takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts and excerpted.

WHALES ON STILTS! M. T. Anderson's Thrilling Tales by M. T. Anderson
Diabolically clever M. T. Anderson devises a homage to adventure novels of old in his new thrilling tale, featuring Lily Gefelty and her two best friends --- who are both stars of their own middle-grade series of novels. Reviewed by Norah Piehl and excerpted.

SECRET AGENT by Robyn Freedman Spizman & Mark Johnston
Kyle Parker's mother kicks her husband out of the house --- for good! The reason? Kyle's dad has been unsuccessful in getting his novel published. Kyle wants to help, so he swears in three of his friends as secret agents. Their mission: to get the book published once and for all. Reviewed by Robert Oksner and excerpted.

NOVA ROCKS: Star Sisterz, Book 1 by Tea Emesse
Act like a rock star in front of a group of strangers. When Nova Darling sees this message on an ATM, she can't believe her eyes. No one knows about her passion for playing the electric guitar, and Nova's mother is convinced that Nova is destined to be a ballet star. Will the mystery message help Nova follow her dreams without breaking her mom's heart? Reviewed by Paula Jolin.

CARMEN DIVES IN: Star Sisterz, Book 2 by Linda Johns
Carmen Bernstein feels neglected now that her father has re-married and is heavily involved with his "new and improved" family. Then one day, while snooping on her Dad's PocketPC, Carmen sees a message telling her to make up a crazy cheer. She doesn't know anything about cheerleading, but in a moment of desperation Carmen gives the silly cheer a try --- and discovers something she never expected. Reviewed by Paula Jolin.

Erin Swift talks about the agonies of starting seventh grade on her own secret home page. She starts out by not being on the same track with her best friend, progresses on to being the butt of practical jokes --- and things go downhill from there! Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

When Measle Stubbs broke free from Basil Tramplebone's evil spell, he was ready to live happily ever after. But he wasn't expecting the Dragodon, his most terrifying opponent yet. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

STINK: The Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald
Stink, the younger brother of Judy Moody, is only three feet, eight inches tall --- and he appears to be shrinking! He tries everything to look like he's growing, but he isn't fooling anyone. If only he could confide in his hero, the shortest person ever to serve as President of the United States. Reviewed by Renee Kirchner.

A FRIEND CALLED ANNE: One Girl's Story of War, Peace, and a Unique Friendship with Anne Frank by Jacqueline van Maarsen, retold for children by Carol Anne Lee
Jacqueline van Maarsen met Anne Frank in 1941, and the two girls quickly became best friends. This eloquent memoir details their relationship and Jacqueline's own chilling experience of narrowly escaping Nazi deportation thanks to her Catholic mother. Reviewed by Carole Turner.

THE MAGICIAN'S BOY by Susan Cooper
The Magician's Boy sets out on a journey in the strange Land of Story to find the missing Saint George puppet from the Magician's famous puppet play, "Saint George and the Dragon." Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

GRANDMA'S GENERAL STORE: The Ark by Dorothy Carter
When Prince and Pearl's father loses his job at the sawmill, he and their mother head north to make a better life for themselves and their children. They leave Prince and Pearl in Florida helping their grandma run her small general store she calls "the Ark." The youngsters must quickly adapt to their new situation and learn what it means to be strong and responsible grownups. Reviewed by Alexis Burling.

MADCAT by Kathy Mackel
MadCat Campione is the best twelve-year-old catcher in New Hampshire. And this year her fastpitch softball team, the Norwich Sting, is going National. They'll be trying to make the National Fastpitch Softball World Series, playing against the best teams from around the country. But going National isn't quite what MadCat expected. Reviewed by Renee Kirchner.

MOON RUNNER by Carolyn Marsden
At her new school Mina joins a club called the Fellow Friends, complete with a secret handshake and a Friendship Ball. But when Mina discovers that she excels at track, will this mean an end to her friendship with the competitive Ruth? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

North Bridge's basketball team is a mess. The parents want new coaches. Jeremy, the team's best player, doesn't want to play. Nathan, the worst player, holds the tie-breaking shot in his hands. And Hank, the player who the coach is counting on, gets himself purposely kicked out of a crucial game. Reviewed by Robert Oksner.

In Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park's first contemporary novel, Julia and her friend Patrick decide to raise silkworms hoping to win a blue ribbon at the state fair. But Julia has mixed feelings about their project, which she feels might be "too Korean." This richly layered story includes an unexpected bonus: conversations between Julia, the main character, and Ms. Park, the author! Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Lowji Sanjana is feeling sad and lonely after he and his family move to America from Bombay, India. He misses his friends and desperately wants to have a pet of his own. But the summer becomes more enjoyable for Lowji thanks to Ms. Crisp, his landlady. Reviewed by Ashley Hartlaub.

Read our reviews and features here.
Poll: Reading for Pleasure

Do you wish you had more time to read for pleasure?

Yes, I do.
No, I have enough.
Not sure





Answer the Poll here.
Question of the Month
Name a book in which you would like to be a character.
Click here to answer our Question of the Month.

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