Wednesday, May 15, 2019

K10: The Girl in the Locked Room by Mary Downing Hahn


Tell us a little about yourself: what is your first name, how old are you, and what is your favorite flavor of ice cream? My first name is Danni. I am nine and my favorite type of ice cream is cookies and cream.

What book did you read and why did you choose it? I read The Girl In The Locked Room. I chose it because it was my favorite book from the year. I couldn't remember much about the other books I read this year. This book was pretty scary.

Can you describe this book in one word? Creepy.

What was your favorite part of this story? When the girl/main character finds out that the six-year-old had been locked in her room for 100 years.

If you had a problem similar to the main character's problem, what would you do? It was a pretty bazaar problem.

What would you say to your best friend to convince them to read this book? "It’s creepy, awesome, and had a weird, but happy ending!!!"

What do you think about the book's cover? Like almost all the book, the cover is haunting.

Would you want to read another book about these characters? Why or why not? Yes, because they were cool, funny and I liked their accent.

Can you name another book that reminds you of this one? No. It was pretty "different."

If you could ask the author one question about this book what would it be? Would you write another book? PLEASE!

Thank you, Danni, for telling us about this book! I does look creepy! I can't wait to read it! It looks like Ms. Hahn has written several scary books for kids. You may want to check them out here.

You can read more about The Girl in the Locked room here.


Book Review: Spirit Hunters by Ellen Oh


Spirit HuntersSpirit Hunters by Ellen Oh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twelve-year-old Harper Raine and her family have relocated from New York City to DC during the heat of summer. There’s much to get used to, the incessant heat, and the “gothic charm” of their new house and the renovations.

Her four-year-old brother, Michael is oblivious, and it’s strange that his room is cold with an unnatural chill when she visits, and he tells her about his new friend, Billy, pointing to a corner.

Michael is frustrated Harper can’t see him. His words trigger a memory of Harper’s when she was five-years-old when she had a best friend her older sister couldn’t see either.

“Billy doesn’t like when you call his house stupid.”

Harper covers for Michael when he tries telling their mother. She doesn’t like things she can’t understand. Harper doesn’t understand either.

Nothing has been the same since Harper’s accident. Reviewing her memory book, an unfinished jigsaw puzzle, that had one missing piece. Unable to remember anything about the fire at school, when she was hospitalized with several broken bones. It’s what the mind does to forget terrible tragedy. Did she really want to remember what happened?

With the move, Harper’s Korean grandmother lives closer, and she can’t wait to see her. But her mother won’t speak to her. She hasn’t in years. Harper misses her grandmother terribly, and through all the hauntings, and missing memories, Harper works to reunite them. Turns out, Grandma has a few surprises.

Ooh, I LOVED this fun, spooky middle-grade book! The ghosts were truly evil and SCARY! Harper has to go through several hoops to save her brother, and her older sister blames her for the move to D.C. One of my favorite scenes is Harper confronting a salesperson who’s a racist, and she sticks up for herself! The author is the founder of “We Need Diverse Books”.

The first in a series, I can’t wait to read the follow-up, ISLAND OF MONSTERS, for more spooky-fun! Out now!










View all my reviews

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Secrets of Kidlit: Why Skype?

Used under a Creative Commons license.
Attribution: Kathy Cassidy
Skype is one of my favorite "events." Okay, so it isn't really an event, in that I don't have to pack up and go somewhere -- but that's the best part!

Skype visits with classrooms are the perfect option for authors who work day jobs or who are stay-at-home parents with young kids at home, are unable to travel, or just feel more comfortable being in a familiar setting

Today, I thought I'd share some tips to make sure your author Skype visit goes well!

1) Work out all of your tech issues ahead of time. Set up your laptop/computer/whatever in the place where you'll be doing the visit. Double check internet connection, test out the video and audio, make sure the camera is at a good angle, and -- most importantly -- be sure you have the teacher or librarian's Skype handle! (Or you may find yourself scrambling to get in touch with the teacher two minutes after the visit was supposed to start. Not that this has ever happened to me . . . ;)

2) Be prepared for anything. This includes poor lighting in the classroom, pixelated video, video that doesn't work, delayed audio, and, well, just about anything.

3) Set up parameters for the visit ahead of time. How long will the visit last? What will it include? Are the students familiar with your books? How many kids will be in the classroom? Will you be paid, or is this a free visit?

4) Ask the teacher or librarian to send you the students' questions ahead of time. Not only will this help you prepare, but it can be a lifesaver if the kids are hard to hear on Skype.

5) Relax and have fun! Skype visits are especially great because they're informal and usually short.

Do you have any additional tips for Skyping with a classroom? If so, drop them in the comments below!




Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Congrats to Miriam Spitzer Franklin on EMILY OUT OF FOCUS

Today we are celebrating 
Miriam Spitzer Franklin's
Emily Out of Focus



Twelve-year-old Emily is flying with her parents to China to adopt and bring home a new baby sister. She’s excited but nervous to travel across the world and very aware that this trip will change her entire life. And the cracks are already starting to show the moment they reach the hotel—her parents are all about the new baby, and have no interest in exploring.

In the adoption trip group, Emily meets Katherine, a Chinese-American girl whose family has returned to China to adopt a second child. The girls eventually become friends and Katherine reveals a secret: she’s determined to find her birth mother, and she wants Emily’s help.

New country, new family, new responsibilities—it’s all a lot to handle, and Emily has never felt more alone.

From the author of Extraordinary and Call Me Sunflower, Emily Out of Focus is a warm and winning exploration of the complexity of family, friendship, and identity that readers will love.

Get your copy at Amazon, B&N, or IndieBound.

Or enter to win a hardcover here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Your Kidliterati friends hope you enjoy
your book birthday, Miriam!


Monday, April 22, 2019

Book Review: The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater


The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their LivesThe 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a true story.

Monday, November 2, 2013. Oakland, California.

Sasha sits in the back of the bus reading wearing a T-shirt, black fleece jacket, a gray flat cap, and gauzy white skirt. A senior at a small private school, the teenager identifies as agender—neither male nor female.

Sasha falls asleep.

A few seats away, three teenage boys are fooling around. Richard, with the sweet smile, wears a black hoodie and New York Knicks hat. He’s sixteen and a junior at Oakland High School.

Sasha wakes up in flames and screams.

Sasha spends over three weeks undergoing multiple surgeries to treat second and third-degree burns on their legs. Richard is arrested and charged as an adult with two felonies, each with a hate-crime clause.

From the start, the author reminds us how delicate the balance hangs prior to the crime, how it almost didn’t happen, how any number of things could have changed each teenager’s fate.

Income Inequality.

Richard is from East Oakland.
He’d rather cruise town with friends looking for excitement. Until he meets truancy coordinator, Kaprice Wilson, who grew up on these streets. Richard related to her and he wanted to get his act together.

“He has the potential to achieve anything he wants,” his employer wrote. Richard helped his mother with the bills, while she also took care of his deceased aunt’s daughters. He’d lost two aunts to gun violence and many friends.

Pronouns.

Sasha has always been fascinated by language. The shape and structure of it. They created their own language known as “Conlangers”. Sasha loves buses.

“I don’t want for people to think of me as a he, and when they say he, not only does it reinforce in their brains that I am a he, it also reinforces it in the brains of people who are listening,” Sasha explains. “It doesn’t really directly affect me, at least to hear it—it’s more like, Huh, that’s not right. And when people use the right pronouns, when they use they or another gender-neutral pronoun, it feels validating.”


Transgender people are the victims of an astonishing amount of violence. One out of every four trans people has experienced a bias-driven assault, and numbers are higher for trans women, trans people of color, and people who identify as neither male nor female. Of the 860 nonbinary people who responded to the 2008 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 32 percent had been physically assaulted.”


A 2012 analysis by California’s Department of Justice found that cases against black youths were more than twice as likely to be directly filed in adult court than cases against white youths, and cases against Latino youths were more than six times as likely. And the disparity didn’t end there. Once they landed in adult court, young black and brown offenders were also much more likely to serve time.”


A harrowing account of a terrible crime, detailing the agony each family went through, and the heartbreak of those who love Richard and Sasha. The author has written with clarity and compassion about the injustices within the juvenile incarceration system and the prejudices endured by the LGBTQIA+ community. Showing us much about forgiveness and the importance of community. A compelling must-read for anyone who cares about social justice.







View all my reviews

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

K10: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo


The Kidliterati Ten is an interview series with young readers. We ask them about a favorite book and hope that you enjoy their answers.

Tell us a little about yourself: what is your first name, how old are you, and what is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Valeria, 11, and mint chocolate chip.

What book did you read and why did you choose it? The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. I chose this book because it looked very interesting and I read the back of the book and it sounded interesting.

Can you describe this book in one word? Heroic.

What was your favorite part of this story? When I found out that the evil master was the mom to the princess.

If you had a problem similar to the main character's problem, what would you do? I guess do the same thing, but with friends and helpful allies.

What would you say to your best friend to convince them to read this book? I would tell her that the book has an amazing plot and a great story line.

What do you think about the book's cover? I think the cover of this book is really captivating and persuasive.  

Would you want to read another book about these characters? Why or why not?
YES, because I liked how it ended, but I’d really like to see a continuation of this book. Also, because there’s a movie about it and I LOVED the movie.

Can you name another book that reminds you of this one? The Wizard of Once.

If you could ask the author one question about this book what would it be? What made you want to do this with Timothy B. Ering?

Thank you, Valeria! I love this book, too!

You can read more about The Tale of Despereaux here.



Monday, April 1, 2019

Review: The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

The Bridge HomeThe Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Viji and her sister Rukku run away from their abusive home, their situation is dire. The streets of Chennai are dangerous and cruel, especially as Viji must be extra vigilant due to Rukku's developmental disability.

But bolstered by small acts of kindness from Teashop Aunty, the girls find a home on an abandoned bridge and make new friends with two boys named Muthi and Arul. With their street dog companion Kutti, the four friends learn to survive by scavenging and sharing their resources. When the rainy season starts, the children must decide whether to seek help or fight for their hard-won independence.

The Bridge Home will break your heart and help it to mend. Venkatraman's lean storytelling is filled with raw emotion and it puts the reader directly into the lives of vulnerable children. The empathy on every page and the warmth of Viji and Rukku's found family provide a warm glow.

This story provides young readers with a framework for thinking about many difficult topics including abuse, homelessness, child labor, and grief. But each is handled with such humanity and care that every reader will come away with strength and hope.

View all my reviews


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