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April 2011

Kidsreads.com Newsletter April 2011

Spring into May with a Good Book!

At last! It feels like springtime! Who wants to get out there and run around like a maniac?! Or maybe you’d like to lounge around poolside sipping on lemonade? However you plan on enjoying the fine weather, we have some great books to tell you about when you come back home.

First up is THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stephens, which kicks off the Books of Beginning series. It’s a debut novel about three young orphans who find themselves trapped in another world --- and it’s up to them to set right the wrongs of the past. We have our review, an excerpt, and a very entertaining interview with the author.

Fans of John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice novels will be sad to see the series end, but here's hoping THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA will be a memorable finale. Read our review and an excerpt.

On the flip side, those who love The 39 Clues will be thrilled that the series is continuing with Book Eleven, VESPERS RISING. Bestselling authors Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson take on the hidden history of the Cahills and the Vespers, and the last, terrible legacy Grace Cahill leaves for Amy and Dan.

For those of you who love fantastical creatures, you definitely won’t want to miss DRAGONS & MONSTERS, which wraps up the Encyclopedia Mythologica series. Here, pop-up masters Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda unfold the legends and lore of cultures around the world.

Fans of supernatural stories will want to check out SHIMMER, Alyson Noël’s sequel to RADIANCE. In it, newly-made Soul Catcher Riley Bloom has her vacation interrupted by a disturbed lost soul who has managed to trap other lost souls in her own personal nightmare. Read our review, an excerpt and an interview with the author.

We have two brand-new contests that we want to share with you! BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney is about three children who don’t yet know each other, who are all going through difficult times. They also all share the same idol: famed boxer Joe Louis. Read our review, an excerpt and our interview with the author before entering the giveaway, where you could be one of 10 lucky readers to win the book!

Our very first Bunch o’ Books giveaway is also going on right now. Enter here to win these four books we think you'll enjoy: IN FRONT OF GOD AND EVERYBODY: The Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite, IZZY'S POPSTAR PLAN by Alex Marestaing, NO PLACE LIKE HOLMES by Jason Lethcoe and THE SECRETS BENEATH by Kathleen Fuller.

We’re still giving away 100 copies of THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt, about a boy named Danny who lands himself on the Loser List, an actual list in the girls' bathroom. He wants to get his name off this list, and he almost does, but things only get worse from there. Also, check out our interview with the author, a review, and don't forget to look inside the book while you're at it!

Along with our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups, we have a whole slew of new reviews for you, including BEST OF THE BEST: A Baseball Great Novel by Tim Green, about a boy named Josh whose father challenges him to play the best of the best at the Little League World Series; BEYONDERS: A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES by Brandon Mull, in which teenagers Jason and Rachel embark on a quest to defeat the evil wizard Maldor and end his terrible reign; and STINK: THE ULTIMATE THUMB-WRESTLING SMACKDOWN by Megan McDonald, which marks the return of Stink Moody, the family brain, who brings home a report card that shockingly isn’t perfect. It’s time for him to get into fighting shape and beat back that U for Unsatisfactory in gym!

You’ve heard of the Magic Tree House series, right? Of course you have! Be sure to take part in our survey and you can help choose the new design for the Magic Tree House website.

From May 2-8, the Children's Book Council (CBC) is sponsoring its annual Children's Book Week. You can celebrate your love of reading by telling stories, attending author and illustrator appearances, and heading out to other book-related events. Click here to learn more about Children's Book Week and how to celebrate in your area.

We know you'll have plenty of time to read for pleasure once your summer break begins. When does the school year end for you? Click here to take part in our poll and let us know.

Happy reading and celebrating!

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)


 

An Interview with John Stephens, Author of THE EMERALD ATLAS

John Stephens might seem like an unlikely children’s fantasy author, having spent 10 years working in television. But he’s been a long-time lover of dwarves, magic and time travel, all of which appear in the first installment of his trilogy, THE EMERALD ATLAS. Three siblings discover a magical book and, in the process of trying to put their family back together, end up having to save the world. In this interview, Stephens humorously discusses his own sibling rivalry, his inspirations, and the tricky business of incorporating time travel into a narrative. He also talks about his steadfast writing routine (and love for donuts!), his hopes for his readers, and his natural ability for writing “evil, heartless teenage girls.”

THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stephens (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
Orphans Kate, Michael and Emma P (that’s right, P) stumble upon an old atlas that has the power to transport them through time. At first, the children seek answers to their mysterious past. But they eventually come to realize that before they learn the truth, they must save the world. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

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

 

Click here to read an interview with John Stephens.

 

Now in Stores: RANGER'S APPRENTICE, Book 10: THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA by John Flanagan

RANGER’S APPRENTICE, Book 10: THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA by John Flanagan (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
The final installment in the Ranger’s Apprentice series finds rangers Halt and Will, along with the usual suspects, on a quest to aid the knight Horace in the kingdom of Nihon-Ja. The rangers and Horace are in the middle of a civil war --- and there are no guarantees who will survive this time. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA.

 
Click here to read a review of THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA.

 

Now in Stores: THE 39 CLUES, Book Eleven: VESPERS RISING by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson

THE 39 CLUES, Book Eleven: VESPERS RISING by Rick Riordan, Peter Lerangis, Gordon Korman and Jude Watson (Mystery/Action & Adventure)
The Cahills thought they were the most powerful family the world had ever known. They thought they were the only ones who knew about Gideon Cahill and his Clues. But they were wrong. Powerful enemies --- the Vespers --- have been waiting in the shadows. Now it’s their time to rise and the world will never be the same. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

 
Click here to read a review of VESPERS RISING.

 

Don't Miss: ENCYCLOPEDIA MYTHOLOGICA: DRAGONS & MONSTERS by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda

ENCYCLOPEDIA MYTHOLOGICA: DRAGONS & MONSTERS by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda (Mythology)
A Kraken grapples with a ship on the high seas; dragons spring to life; and a Medusa, snake-hair twisting and hissing, turns the reader to stone. A decrepit vampire rises from his coffin; a lycanthrope is caught in the light of the full moon; and Bigfoot hides behind a tree. Pop-up masters Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda unfold the legends and lore of cultures around the world to reveal these stunning creatures and many more in the conclusion to their Encyclopedia Mythologica trilogy. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.

 

Click here to read a review of ENCYCLOPEDIA MYTHOLOGICA: DRAGONS & MONSTERS.

 

An Interview with Alyson Noël, Author of SHIMMER

Alyson Noël, the award-winning author of the Immortals series for young adults, has written a spinoff series for middle-grade readers featuring Ever Bloom’s deceased sister, Riley Bloom. SHIMMER, the sequel to RADIANCE, is in stores now, to the delight of her ever-growing fan base. In this interview, Noël discusses how she came to write more about Riley, whom readers first met in EVERMORE, and the joyous freedom of penning books for teens and tweens. She also reveals her personal history of being bullied and having to help support her family, remarking on how --- despite her worldwide success --- she still works “as hard as ever.”

SHIMMER: A Riley Bloom Book by Alyson Noël (Supernatural Fantasy)
After the successful completion of her first assignment as a Soul Catcher, Riley Bloom gets to enjoy a much-needed vacation with her dog Buttercup and guide Bodhi. But their fun is interrupted by a very disturbed lost soul who has managed to trap other lost souls in her own personal nightmare. Despite warnings from Bodhi to leave the situation alone, Riley sets off to save them all. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

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

 
Click here to read an interview with Alyson Noël.

 

Special Feature and Contest: BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Famed boxer Joe Louis is miles away from Otis, Willie and Hibernia, but that doesn’t stop them from looking to him during times of hardship. Like Joe Louis, these three children are fighters in their own right --- when loss strikes their families, they refuse to let go of their dreams. And when the three finally meet, they’ll have not only their idol to look to, but each other as well.

To celebrate the release of BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Kidsreads.com is giving 10 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Tuesday, June 28th at noon ET.

BIRD IN A BOX by Andrea Davis Pinkney (Historical Fiction)
Otis, Willie and Hibernia are three children with a lot in common: they've all lost a loved one, they each have secret dreams, and they won't stop fighting for what they want. And they're also a lot like their hero, famed boxer Joe Louis. Throughout this moving novel, their lives gradually converge to form friendship, family and love. Their trials and triumphs echo those of Joe Louis, as he fights to become the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion.

-Click here to read a review of BIRD IN A BOX.
-Click here to read an excerpt of BIRD IN A BOX.
-Click here to see the reading group guide for BIRD IN A BOX.
-Click here to visit the book’s official website.
-Click here to read our interview with Andrea Davis Pinkney.
-Click here to read Andrea Davis Pinkney’s bio.

 
Click here to read all the contest details.

 

Introducing Kidsreads.com's Bunch o' Books Giveaway -- Here's a Chance to Win Four Books!

In our first-ever Bunch o' Books Giveaway, Kidsreads.com is giving 20 lucky readers the chance to each win four books that we think they'll enjoy!

Each winner will receive:

- IN FRONT OF GOD AND EVERYBODY: The Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite
- IZZY'S POPSTAR PLAN by Alex Marestaing
- NO PLACE LIKE HOLMES by Jason Lethcoe
- THE SECRETS BENEATH by Kathleen Fuller

The deadline for entries is Wednesday, June 15th at noon ET.

-Click here to read more about the prize books.

 
Click here to read all the contest details.

 

Special Feature and Contest: THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt

Being a loser is bad enough, but now comics-obsessed Danny is actually on the list: the Loser List --- it’s right there in the girls’ bathroom for everyone (and one girl in particular) to see. There’s only one thing for him to do about it. He must get his name off. But just when his world starts looking up again, Danny may find that being cool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

To celebrate the release of THE LOSER LIST, Kidsreads.com is giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of H.N. Kowitt's illustrated book. The deadline for entries is Thursday, May 26th at noon ET.

THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt (Illustrated Fiction/Humor)
When Danny gets caught trying to cross his name off the "Geek" list in the girls' bathroom, he's sent to detention. Bullies torment him mercilessly --- until they discover that Danny can draw. He enjoys his new "bad boy" status, supplying tattoos and graffiti, until he's unknowingly drawn into a theft. Turns out the bullies took a comic book from Danny's favorite store. Can he steal it back before they get caught --- and break off with the bullies before he gets in too deep?

-Click here to read a review of THE LOSER LIST.
-Click here to look inside THE LOSER LIST.
-Click here to read our interview with H.N. Kowitt.
-Click here to read H.N. Kowitt's bio.

 
Click here to read all the contest details.

 

Kidsreads.com's Magic Tree House Survey

Magic Tree House is getting a brand new website, and the creators want to get feedback from readers and fans of the series to help select the new design. We have a special opportunity for readers between the ages of 6 and 11 to answer two quick questions and select the design that they like the best.

This two-question survey will be open until Monday, May 16th at 11:59PM ET.
Click here to take the survey.

 

Celebrate Children's Book Week!

From May 2-8, the Children's Book Council (CBC) is sponsoring its 92nd annual Children's Book Week. Since 1919, Children's Book Week has been celebrated nationally in schools, libraries, bookstores, clubs, private homes --- any place where there are children and books. Educators, librarians, booksellers and families have celebrated children's books and the love of reading with storytelling, parties, author and illustrator appearances, and other book-related events.
 

Click here to learn more about Children's Book Week and how to celebrate in your area.

 
Cool New Books for April

April's roundup of Cool New Books includes John Stephens’s much-talked-about debut, THE EMERALD ATLAS, which finds three orphaned siblings on a journey to secret corners of the world, where magic and mayhem await; VESPERS RISING, a multi-authored addition to the 39 Clues series, bringing the Cahills up against the powerful Vespers, who have been waiting in the shadows for their time to rise; THE EMPEROR OF NIHON-JA by John Flanagan, the final adventure in the worldwide phenomenon Ranger’s Apprentice, which sees Will and his band of Araluens fending off master Senji warriors intent on overthrowing the emperor; and ARTHUR TURNS GREEN, the long-awaited return of Marc Brown’s beloved aardvark, who is making a poster listing all the ways to save energy at home --- and go green!
 

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

 

April's New in Paperback Roundup

April's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE SUMMER BEFORE, Ann M. Martin’s prequel to The Baby-sitters Club, which marks the long-awaited return of a much-loved group of friends; the opening volumes of two new series by Newbery Medal-winning author Kathryn Lasky, Wolves of the Beyond and The Deadlies; THE BRIMSTONE KEY, the first installment in Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis’s Clockwork Chronicles trilogy, starring the Grey Griffins, who are now monster-hunters, celebrated heroes, and allies to the legendary Templar knights; and DEWEY THE LIBRARY CAT, a middle-grade adaptation of Vicki Myron’s nonfiction bestseller about a cat who was abandoned in a library book drop slot and gained worldwide fame as a symbol of hope that one small cat could change a town, one reader at a time.
 
Click here to see what's New in Paperback for April.

 

This Month's Reviews

BEST OF THE BEST: A Baseball Great Novel by Tim Green (Fiction)
Josh is still flying high from his baseball team's win when his parents start talking divorce. Now his dad is challenging him to play the best of the best at the Little League World Series. Does he just want Josh out of the way? With the help of two friends, Josh races to get the facts that can help keep his family together. Reviewed by Joy Held.

BEYONDERS: A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES by Brandon Mull (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
After being transported to the mysterious world of Lyrian, teenagers Jason and Rachel embark on a quest to defeat the evil wizard Maldor and end his terrible reign. They must collect all six parts of a word that, when uttered in his presence, will destroy him. But it won’t be easy. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read an excerpt from BEYONDERS: A WORLD WITHOUT HEROES.

STINK: THE ULTIMATE THUMB-WRESTLING SMACKDOWN written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (Fiction)
Stink Moody, family brain, brings home a report card that isn’t perfect. It’s time for him to get into fighting shape and beat back that U for Unsatisfactory in gym! A scan of the sports channel leads to a knock-out find: world-class thumb wrestling. But then Stink gets an even better idea: he’ll kick and punch his way to a yellow belt with the help of a Dragon Master, a seeing-eye Moose, and a mind as still as a pond. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

THE MIDNIGHT TUNNEL: A Suzanna Snow Mystery by Angie Frazier (Historical Mystery)
In 1904, 11-year-old Suzanna Snow spends most of her summer working at a fancy hotel in a coastal Canadian town. Rather than follow in her parents’ footsteps of hotel management, she wants to be a detective, just like her famous uncle in Boston. Then a real-life mystery opens up right in front of her when a seven-year-old hotel guest disappears in the middle of a storm. Zanna is on the case! Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

A TRUE PRINCESS by Diane Zahler (Fantasy)
Twelve-year-old Lilia is a terrible servant. She daydreams, breaks dishes, and her cooking is awful. Still, she hardly deserves to be sold off to the mean-spirited miller and his family. Refusing to accept that dreadful fate, she decides to flee with her best friend, Kai, and his sister, Karina. But danger awaits in the elves' domain, where Lilia must find a jewel of ancient power that lies somewhere in the North Kingdoms. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE UNSEEN WORLD OF POPPY MALONE: A GAGGLE OF GOBLINS by Suzanne Harper (Fantasy/Humor)
Unlike her ghost-chasing parents, Poppy Malone isn't the kind of girl who sees goblins. But then she begins to collect evidence: a snicker, soft but clear, and white teeth gleaming in the shadows. What could it be? Vampires, ghosts, werewolves, fairies, or (gulp) goblins? She needs to record all the evidence in a logbook, set a trap, employ a motion-sensor camera, and maybe even ask her siblings for help. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

A DOG’S WAY HOME by Bobbie Pyron (Fiction)
Abby loves her Shetland sheepdog, Tam. When an accident separates them, it feels as though nothing will ever be right again. As the days between them turn to weeks and then months, dangers and changes fill up Abby's and Tam's lives. Will they ever find their way home to each other? Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.


Series Feature Update:

SAVE THE WHITE WHALE! by Geronimo Stilton (Mystery)
Geronimo has been working his tail off at The Rodent’s Gazette, so when Petunia Pretty Paws invites him to visit Whale Bay with her, he immediately says yes. But their trip gets off on the wrong paw, and Geronimo’s relaxing vacation turns into a real nightmare. That is, until Petunia and Geronimo come across a great white whale that needs their help. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

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


Graphic Novel Review:

BABYMOUSE #13: CUPCAKE TYCOON written by Jennifer L. Holm and illustrated by Matthew Holm
When Babymouse accidentally destroys her school library, the school has a cupcake sale to help pay to replace it. Babymouse longs to win the grand prize, but an aggressive classmate is way ahead of her. What's a little pink mouse to do? Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.


 

This Month's Poll: School's Out!

When does the school year end for you?

May 1st – 15th
May 16th – 31st
June 1st – 15th
June 16th – 30th
It ended before May.
It ends after June.
I’m not sure.

 

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!

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