May 2018 Archives

Talent is way down on

Talent is way down on the list of things you need to write; it comes in a distant fourth, after persistence, motivation, and discipline.
Patricia Wrede

Humor is the most precious

Humor is the most precious gift I can give to my reader, a reminder that the world is not such a terribly serious place.
James Howe

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

lifeofacactus.pngInsignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (Sterling Children's Books, 2017) by Dusti Bowling was so good.

Thirteen-year-old Aven was born without arms, but loves making up stories about what happened to her arms. It's a fun joke with her friends, but when she and her family have to move because her dad lost his job and Aven has to go to a new school, she doesn't feel like joking. Or eating lunch in front of anyone. And the "looks" and stares are hard.

Her new home is a rundown Western theme park in Arizona which has some mysteries. Eventually she meets Connor who has his own struggles and they start investigating those mysteries plus create some excitement of their own. The two also ending up helping each other.

Aven is funny, interesting, and a good friend. I like her parents and how they've encouraged her.

This really is a sweet book, but not too sweet. ;-) Go here and read about all the awards and lists this book has been chosen for.

Dusti's second book, 24 Hours in Nowhere, comes out in September. Read about it here.

A Death-Struck Year

A_Death_Struck_Year.pngA Death-Struck Year (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014) by Makiia Lucier is a wonderful historical set 100 years ago.

Seventeen-year-old Cleo Berry is temporarily staying at her school in Portland, Oregon while her guardians are on a trip to San Francisco. But then the Spanish influenza, which has been devastating the East Coast, hits Portland. Cleo is supposed to stay at her school but she sneaks out and goes home where she is alone. She ends up volunteering for the Red Cross and risks her life helping those who are stricken with flu.

Cleo is a strong character who grows during the story to understand much more about life, and death, than she ever has before. I love how this wealthy girl who knows so little about practical things in the real world learns what's really important.

This was author Makiia Lucier's debut novel. The book was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association. Oh, and a bonus on the author's site is pictures of what Portland was like in 1918. See them here.

Makiia's next book is a fantasy that came out in April. Read about it here.

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse

Perfect Picture Book Friday

wolf-duck-mouse.jpgThe Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse (Candlewick Press, 2017) by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen is a humorous picture book (no surprise if you are familiar with the author or illustrator).

Mouse meets a wolf and gets swallowed. In the wolf's stomach he meets a duck who actually enjoys his life there. With advice from the duck, they live happily, but the wolf . . . not so much.

I like the classical feel of this story. The illustrations add to the humor.

Read about Mac and his other books on his website. While there you can see all the awards the book has won. Also check out Jon's illustrations on tumbler.


Bernice Gets Carried Away

Perfect Picture Book Friday

bernice.jpgBernice Gets Carried Away (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015) by Hannah E. Harrison is one of those fun picture books where the title has multiple meanings.

Bernice is not in a good mood. (Look at that face!) Everyone at the birthday party is getting good things, except Bernice. So when balloons were going to be handed out, "she didn't take any chances."

I love how perspective turns Bernice's mood around, and that it can do the same for us.

This book is an Oklahoma Book Awards Finalist in both Illustration and Children/Young Adult categories.

Author/Illustrator Hannah E. Harrison has a number of books out that relate to friendship. Read more on her website.

Books are the bees which

Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.
James Russell Lowell

The Traitor's Kiss

traitor'skiss.jpgI *loved* The Traitor's Kiss (Imprint, Macmillan, 2017) by Erin Beaty. A strong and smart heroine, a matchmaker, future brides, soldiers and spies, intrigue, danger, lies--this fantasy has it all. I really do love a story that keeps me guessing.

Sage Fowler does not want to be a lady. She does not want to go to the matchmaker for a "suitable" marriage. And she's got the temper to share those facts. But what's a girl without parents to do? She becomes the matchmakers apprentice which leads her to go on a bridal trip with a bunch of other girls and the soldiers guarding them. However, no one in their party knows that nefarious schemes are going on behind the scenes that could put the whole kingdom at risk.

This was author Erin Beaty's debut novel--and you should really read her humorous bio here.

Plus, I'm excited to say a sequel The Traitor's Ruin is coming out in July! Woo hoo!traitor'sruin.jpg And on her blog, Erin says she's working on book three of the trilogy.

Read more about both books here.







As I look back on

As I look back on what I have written, I can see that the very persons who have taken away my time are those who have given me something to say.
Katherine Paterson