Super Red Riding Hood by Claudia Dávila (Kids Can Press, August 2014) is a twist on the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood, with an emphasis on the super powers of Ruby, a girl who has no fear … or does she? With delightful cartoon-like and friendly illustrations, Ruby’s story shows us that sometimes our kindness is a strength to help us turn enemies into friends! (more…)
When I was a kid, I had a bike and a backpack. I’d ride up to the library at least once a week all summer long and check out a bag full of books. The next week, I’d take them all back and restock. If I found an author I liked, I would check out every single book I could find by that author the next week.
There were some authors I always returned to. One of them was Avi.
I don’t know which came first: meeting Avi, or reading his books. But when I was third grade, I was selected from my class for the “Young Authors” program, and I got to meet Avi himself, who told us his story, why he loved to write, and so forth. I knew from that moment that I’d be an author too. Although I have not really written children’s fiction as I thought I wanted to as a child, I certainly have kept reading, and as my 6+ years of blogging about reading may indicate, I like writing quite a bit too!
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Avi is such a fascinating author to me because not only does he write realistic children’s fiction (like Nothing But The Truth), he also writes ghost stories (like Something Upstairs), mysteries (Who Stole the Wizard of Oz?), historical fiction (The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Crispin: The Cross of Lead), historical-ghost-mystery (The Man Who Was Poe) and fantasy (Poppy). There are a million other subgenres he’s written too: I must admit, I have not kept up with all his new books since college and motherhood have come along! (I love that, now that my son is getting older, I have more “excuses” to revisit middle grade fiction!).
Who Was That Masked Man Anyway? (originally published 1992, reissued by Scholastic Paperbacks 2014) is one of the most unusual novels I’ve read: it is written entirely in dialogue. No, it’s not a play: there are no name indications in the text, nor are there settings and stage directions. Indeed, every single line that appears in the book is a line of dialogue. (more…)
The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press, September 2014) is another fascinating scientific mystery. As with The Case of the Vanishing Tree Frogs, which I read and reviewed a few years ago, Little Brown Bats is about a species of animal that is mysteriously disappearing in the world. In this case, it is the little brown bats of Eastern North America, bats about 5 cm in length, that are awakening from hibernation and dying at an unprecedented pace. (more…)
The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2014) is my new favorite “expecting a baby” book for kids. Although it is full of nonsense as a a soon-to-be-big brother is told all sorts of whoppers about where a baby comes from, it is in fact a no-nonsense book for parents interested in opening a practical dialogue with children.
I am a big fan of keeping things factual when it comes to the baby front. In this clever story about a young boy seeking the truth about his expected sibling, his grandpa, teacher, and other associates are not so frank with him, leaving him scratching his head. I love how when he finally has a conversation with his parents and gets the truth, he is satisfied that everyone is a little bit right. And I love the kicker at the very end. (I won’t spoil it for you.) (more…)
I’ve mentioned before that I love the nonfiction books I’ve read by Sally M. Walker. Ghost Walls (Lerner, 2014) is no exception. With Ms. Walker’s conversational style of writing and clear explanations of both science and history, Ghost Walls digs into the anthropological history of a seventeenth-century house in Maryland, giving life to a house that fell into ruins hundreds of years ago. (more…)