Recently in Award Winners Category

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

GirlofFireandThorns.jpegThe Girl of Fire and Thorns (Greenwillow Books, 2011) by Rae Carson is a wonderful YA fantasy. I just discovered book one of this trilogy and raced through it.

Sixteen-year-old Elisa has been chosen to be the Godstone bearer. But as the younger princess, the princess who keeps getting bigger and bigger because she eats when she's upset, she doesn't see how she can ever be used. Married off to a neighboring king, at risk from the enemy, Elisa goes on a journey that changes her and her whole world.

Loved this book and am looking forward to reading book two, The Crown of Embers (2012) and following it up with The Bitter Kingdom (2013). Why didn't I hear about this New York Times bestselling trilogy earlier?!

This was Rae Carson's debut novel and was a William C. Morris Award Finalist. The trilogy has been translated into other languages. See covers here. She's also written other stories in the universe, The Girl of Fire and Thorns Stories (Girl of Fire and Thorns Novella). WalkonEarth.jpeg

Like a River Glorious, book one in the Gold Seer Trilogy, came out in September 2015 and is a YALSA 2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick. More to add to my TBR pile. ;-)


Mother Bruce

Perfect Picture Book Friday*

motherbruce.jpegMother Bruce (Disney Hyperion, 2015) by Ryan T. Higgins expresses humor from the get go with the title (Goose crossed out and Bruce written above it).

On the first page we discover, "Bruce was a bear who lived all by himself. He was a grump." And his expression shows that. That are a lot of things he doesn't like. But he does like cooking eggs into "fancy recipes that he found on the internet." When he finds a recipe for "hard-boiled goose eggs drizzles with honey-salmon sauce," Bruce gets the ingredients, and starts to cook, Bruce becomes "the victim of mistaken identity."

I love the humor in this book with Bruce as the unlikely mother of this group of goslings. Whom he can't get rid of!

Mother Bruce has won these awards: 2016 E.B. White Read Aloud Award, 2016 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor, and a 2016 Kirkus Best Book.

Hotel-Bruce.jpegA new Bruce book came out last October called Hotel Bruce. This is the third book by Ryan and sounds fun too. Read about it here.

You can see Ryan's sense of humor on his about page where he says:
"Ryan T. Higgins is an author/illustrator residing in Southern Maine. He lives with his three dogs, three cats, two geckos, one tortoise, one son, one daughter, and one wife. As a child, he lived on a diet of cartoons, cheese sandwiches, and climbing trees. At the age of four he decided to become a cartoonist and he's been making his own cartoons ever since."


*I've joined with Susannah Leonard Hill on celebrating picture books on Fridays.

One for the Murphys

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

one-for-the-murphys-335x512.jpegIf you like me missed One for the Murphys (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012) by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, run get the book. It is so good.

It's pretty scary for twelve-year-old Carley Connors to be placed in a foster home with the Murphy family--total strangers. It's always been her and her mom until just over a year ago when Mom married Dennis. And now because of physical abuse by her step-father, she's here and her mother is in the hospital. Her mom has taught her not to cry, not to be afraid, but she can't help shaking.

Living with the Murphys, Carley finds out that her old life had a lot wrong in it. Of course, she misses her mother and is sure she won't be staying long. But life is full of surprises for Carley and she grows to like her foster family. So what will happen when it's time to leave?

Author Lynda Mullaly Hunt has created such a believable sympathetic character--she had me aching for Carley and her situation. The book has won awards and been put on many lists. Go here to see all.

Because foster kids often don't have any books, Lynda has started Book Train to get books into their hands.

I've already recommend Lynda's book Fish in a Tree here.



The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Barnhill_GirlWhoDrankMoon_HC_jkt_rgb_2MB_HR.jpegThe Girl Who Drank the Moon (Algonquin Young Readers, 2016) by Kelly Barnhilll is unusual. It's not told all in the viewpoint of a child main character--in fact we're in the viewpoint of two adults, a swamp monster, and even a tiny dragon. The girl's viewpoint comes later in the book.

The people in the village sacrifice the youngest born child each year to keep themselves safe from a witch. What they don't know is that the witch is actually kind and she's been rescuing these children and giving them to good homes on the other side of the forest. This time Xan keeps a baby girl, whom she names Luna. She raises her with the help of Glerk, a swamp monster, and Fyrian, a perfectly tiny dragon. To keep everyone safe from Luna's magic, Xan locks it inside her until she's thirteen. Meanwhile, a young man from the village plans to kill the witch.

I loved this epic story and had a hard time putting it down. And isn't that a beautiful cover? The book has been put on a number of Best Book lists and is a New York Times bestseller.

The author describes herself on her website as: "Author. Teacher. Insufferable Blabbermouth. I also make pie." Read more about her here. I haven't read all of her books, yet, but besides this one, I've already recommended The Mostly True Story of Jack here.


Echo

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

ECHO-medal-693x1024.jpgEcho (Scholastic Press, 2015) by Pam Muñoz Ryan is a 2016 Newbery Honor book--my vote is for the top award as it is so amazing.

Four stories, four different time periods, different cultures, and a prophecy, a promise and a harmonica are all woven together in an unexpected way. Otto's story is very short, but it kicks off with mystery when he gets lost in the forest. He must pass the harmonica on at the right time. Over sixty years later we meet Friedrich struggling with hiding his birthmark in a country gone crazy labeling someone like him a defective--welcome to Nazi Germany. He finds and passes on the harmonica. Next we jump two years later to an orphanage for destitute children in Pennsylvania to be with Mike who is trying to make sure he and his little brother stay together . . . somehow. Again, the harmonica plays an important part. Seven years later we meet Ivy in California dealing with prejudice for her Hispanic background and another family's Japanese heritage. The harmonica comes to her, too.

Each of the three main stories were heart-jerking and so important for kids (and adults) today to hear. I love how the book is resolved. This really is a must read! (It's also a New York Times bestseller.)

The author is an eclectic writer with books in the following categories: novels, picture books, early readers, and short stories in anthologies. Learn more about her here.


The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Mother Bruce

One for the Murphys

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Echo

All Four Stars

The Crossover

The Year We Sailed the Sun

Ship Breaker

Prisoner 88

El Deafo

On My Way to Buy Eggs

This Girl Is Different

Payback - Nickel Bay Nick

Quick and Cute - Number One Sam

Dory Fantasmagory

MG Adventure in Verse - May B.

Discoveries and Escapes - Rooftoppers

A Wow Adventure

Dangerous Adventure - Badger Knight

An Eggstraordinary Story - Under the Egg

MG Mystery - Three Times Lucky

A Boy and an Elephant - Chained

Secrets! - The Pledge

Hilariously Creepy - Creepy Carrots

Moving Story - The Stamp Collector

Cute Grandma Story - Silly Frilly Grandma Tilly

Heartbreaker - The One and Only Ivan

The amazing Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Eye-opening Historical - Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Anything But Typical

Historical MG in Verse - Inside Out and Back Again

Amazing Historical - The Year We Were Famous

Fascinating problem - Flip

Whose life? - How to save a life

Another time and now - Blessing's Bead

Just love this kid! - Okay for Now

A book with heart - Heart of a Shepherd

Really good story - Grounded

One Strong Girl! - One Crazy Summer

Distinct voices - Blink & Caution

Great first line - Split

Very Very Good! - Crunch

Very Interesting - The Everafter

Real or not real? - The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Funny pet story - Guinea Dog

Something a bit different - Ashes

Fearful stuff - Countdown

What a sweet winner! - Moon Over Manifest

Unputdownable Fantasy - The Demon King

Shortlisted? - Mockingbird

Facts just slip into your mind - The Red Umbrella

Book Felt SO Real - memoirs of a teenage amnesiac

Great First Line - How to Steal a Dog

Book 1 - glad more is coming - Shiver

Newbery honor book - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Great opening scene - The Middle of Somewhere

You thought you had it tough? - Sweetgrass Basket

Unforgettable - Unwind

Character Growth - Red Glass & Mexican WhiteBoy

Got voice? - Penny from Heaven & Elijah of Buxton

2009 Newbery Winner - The Graveyard Book

Fantasy to Love - Graceling

A 2009 Newbery honor book - Savvy