Kidsreads.com Newsletter - February 2017
Although February is the shortest month of the year, it brings some of my all-time favorite holidays: Valentine's Day, when stuffing my face with chocolate is not only excused, but encouraged; and Library Lover’s Month, when we can celebrate some of the best places for bookworms to learn about new releases.
Thinking about libraries always reminds me of my childhood trips to my local library --- which was conveniently located across the parking lot from the pool, so I was able to combine both of my favorite activities into one trip. That library was the place where I discovered so many books that I love, including the Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables series. These are easily some of my happiest childhood memories, so I was delighted to see that the Little House series has been given a gorgeous makeover with new hardcover releases that look like woodcuts. You can see a picture of one above.
Of course, being an avid reader means that you're constantly making room for new favorites. With so many books releasing every month, it can be difficult to narrow down which ones you'll try. This month, there are two books in particular that I recommend: SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH by Scott Seegert and John Martin, and THE PLAYBOOK by Kwame Alexander.
I definitely remember my awkward, cringe-worthy middle school years. Going to school on Earth was wild and wacky enough, so just imagine attending junior high in space! In SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH, Seegert and Martin tell the story of Kelvin Klosmo, whose classmates believe is the galaxy's smartest middle-schooler. But what if he just isn't the star they imagine him to be? In celebration of this hilarious release, Kidsreads.com's Dana Cuadrado asked Seegert and Martin a few questions about working together, illustrating all the quirky little aliens and, of course, what they have planned for the next book in the series. Click here to read their answers.
When it comes to THE PLAYBOOK, you probably recognize Kwame's name from his 2015 Newbery winner, THE CROSSOVER. I had lunch with Kwame and a few librarian friends back in November, and I learned that he is not only extremely gifted and generous, but literally laugh-out-loud hilarious! Kwame spoke to us about his love of poetry and future plans for THE CROSSOVER (hint: there may be a prequel coming your way in the next few years).
In THE PLAYBOOK, Kwame delivers 52 basketball-themed lessons that apply perfectly to daily life --- even if you, like me, are the least athletic person you know. My favorite? "Rule #11: Don't let past mistakes stop you from playing the current game. Put your full heart, pure passion, and unstoppable faith on the line as if you've never hit the court before." We have our review below. You can see a photo of me and Kwame above!
That's all for this update! As always, be sure to check out our series update below --- we've added new titles for 19 different book series this month.
--- Rebecca Munro (Rebecca@bookreporter.com)
Featured Review and Interview: SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH by Scott Seegert and John Martin
In SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH by Scott Seegert and John Martin, Kelvin Klosmo learns about friendship, acceptance and, of course, aliens! Full of laughs and out-of-this-world entertainment, this book is sure to be an instant hit. In celebration of the release of SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH, Kidsreads.com's Dana Cuadrado asked Scott and John a few questions about how they worked together to write the book, their scientific research and what's next for Kelvin Klosmo in this interview.
SCI-FI JUNIOR HIGH by Scott Seegert and John Martin (Fiction)
Kelvin Klosmo isn't just the new kid at school --- he's the new kid in the galaxy! Welcome to Sci-Fi Junior High: an inter-galactic space station with students of all shapes, sizes, smells, and...slime content. As the son of Earth's two most famous geniuses, Kelvin isn't just the smartest kid in the world...he's the smartest kid in the UNIVERSE. At least, that's what everybody at Sci-Fi Junior High thinks. So, maybe Kelvin lied a little about being a genius to fit in. And maybe a mad scientist is about to take over the universe unless Kelvin can stop him. Maybe everyone is doomed. Reviewed by Dana Cuadrado.
Featured Review: THE PLAYBOOK by Kwame Alexander
THE PLAYBOOK: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander with photos by Thai Neave (Nonfiction)
You gotta know the rules to play the game. Ball is life. Take it to the hoop. Soar. What can we imagine for our lives? What if we were the star players, moving and grooving through the game of life? What if we had our own rules of the game to help us get what we want, what we aspire to, what will enrich our lives? Illustrated with photographs by Thai Neave, THE PLAYBOOK is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Reviewed by Audrey Slater.
Featured Review: THE WARDEN'S DAUGHTER by Jerry Spinelli
THE WARDEN'S DAUGHTER by Jerry Spinelli (Fiction)
Cammie O'Reilly is the warden's daughter, living in an apartment above the entrance to the Hancock County Prison. But she's also living in a prison of grief and anger about the mother who died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. And prison has made her mad. This girl's nickname is Cannonball. In the summer of 1959, as twelve turns to thirteen, everything is in flux. Cammie's best friend is discovering lipstick and "American Bandstand." A child killer is caught and brought to her prison. Reviewed by Alyssa Cami.
Now in Stores: BILLY SURE KID ENTREPRENEUR VS. MANNY REYES KID ENTREPRENEUR by Luke Sharpe
BILLY SURE KID ENTREPRENEUR VS. MANNY REYES KID ENTREPRENEUR by Luke Sharpe with illustrations by Graham Ross (Fiction)
It’s a friendly switcheroo at Sure Things, Inc.! Manny decides to roll out Sure Things, Inc.’s Next Big Thing --- the Candy Toothbrush. Of course every good inventor needs a good CFO, so Billy steps up to the plate. But is Manny a better kid inventor than Billy? And does Sure Things, Inc. have room for the both of them?
Now in Stores: THE CASTLE IN THE MIST by Amy Ephron
THE CASTLE IN THE MIST by Amy Ephron (Fantasy)
Tess and her brother, Max, are sent for the summer to their aunt’s sleepy village in the English countryside, where excitement is as rare as a good WiFi signal. So when Tess stumbles upon an old brass key that unlocks an ornately carved gate, attached to a strangely invisible wall, she jumps at the chance for adventure. And the world beyond the gate doesn’t disappoint. She finds rose gardens, a maze made of hedges and a boy named William who is just as lonely as she is. But at William’s castle, strange things begin to happen. In a magical, fantasy world that blurs the line between reality and imagination, readers are left to wonder exactly what they’d wish for if wishes could come true.
- We will have our review soon!
Nonfiction Picture Books Bookshelf
The start of a new year is always the perfect time to set some new reading goals for yourself. Whether you hope to read a certain number of books or try out a new genre or author, there are plenty of ways to make sure your TBR for the year is perfectly piled to match your goals. While you're thinking of your read-solutions for 2017, why not try some nonfiction books? Nonfiction may sound like a total snooze-fest, but we think nonfiction picture books are a great way to learn about a new subject while enjoying gorgeous illustrations and photos. With that in mind, we've curated our Nonfiction Picture Books bookshelf, a collection of biographies and science books that will teach you about famous historical figures, athletes and even animals. No matter your age or interest, we're sure you'll find something fascinating on our Nonfiction Picture Books bookshelf.
SHORT by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Fiction)
Julia is very short for her age, but by the end of the summer run of "The Wizard of Oz," she'll realize how big she is inside, where it counts. She hasn't ever thought of herself as a performer, but when the wonderful director of "Oz" casts her as a Munchkin, she begins to see herself in a new way. Julia becomes friendly with the poised and wise Olive --- one of the adults with dwarfism who've joined the production's motley crew of Munchkins. With her deeply artistic neighbor, Mrs. Chang, Julia's own sense of self as an artist grows. Reviewed by Angela Warsinske.
HARRY MILLER'S RUN by David Almond (Fiction)
Liam just wants to go out running with his mates --- the Junior Great North Run is not far away and there’s training to be done. But Mam needs him today, to help old Harry clear out his house. And Harry knows a thing or two about running. When he was a lad, he says, he ran from Newcastle to South Shields. "But Harry," says Mam, "it’s thirteen miles!" Harry grins. "Different days," he says. Here is the story of that day: the day when Harry and his pals ran and ran and ran through the blazing sunlight all the way to the sea. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
SLAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU: Slappy World Book 1 by R.L. Stine (Horror)
It's bad enough Ian Barker has to spend his 12th birthday with his sister and their two annoying cousins. The four of them can't ever hang out without getting into trouble. Vinnie and Jonny always want to play with Ian's stuff. They take extra turns and break everything they touch. Even Ian's new birthday presents are up for grabs. But when Ian gets a Slappy dummy from his dad, things go from bad to worse. When Slappy's in charge, you don't fight over him, he fights over you! Reviewed by Hasnah Farraj-Doleh.
SIREN SISTERS by Dana Langer (Fantasy)
Lolly Salt has three beautiful sisters. When they're not in school or running their small town's diner, they're secretly luring ships to their doom from the cliffs of Starbridge Cove, Maine. With alluring voices that twelve-year-old Lolly has yet to grow into (not that she wants to anyway) the Salt sisters do the work mandated by the Sea Witch, a glamorously frightening figure determined to keep the girls under her control. With their mother dead after a mysterious car accident, and their father drowning in grief, the sisters carry on with their lives and duties until a local sea captain gets suspicious about the shipwrecks. Reviewed by Angela Warsinske.
REMARKABLE PLANTS: Weird Trivia & Unbelievable Facts to Test Your Knowledge About Fungi, Flowers, Algae & More! by Jeff Probst (Nonfiction/Science)
Packed with full-color photos, fascinating facts and trivia, and great callouts from Jeff, this series is perfect for every kid looking to know the coolest, weirdest facts and trivia around! Challenge yourself to discover the world’s most remarkable plants! Reviewed by Eden Temple.
SCAR ISLAND by Dan Gemeinhart (Adventure/Mystery)
Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys --- an ancient, crumbling fortress of gray stone rising up from the ocean. It is dark, damp and dismal. And it is just the place Jonathan figures he deserves. Because Jonathan has done something terrible. And he's willing to accept whatever punishment he has coming. Reviewed by Melissa Hurt.
AN EAGLE IN THE SNOW by Michael Morpurgo (Historical Fiction)
England, 1940. Barney’s home has been destroyed by bombing, and he and his mother are traveling to the countryside when German planes attack. Their train is forced to take shelter in a tunnel and there, in the darkness, a stranger --- a fellow passenger --- begins to tell them a story about two young soldiers who came face to face in the previous war. One British, one German. Both lived, but the British soldier was haunted by the encounter once he realized who the German was: the young Adolf Hitler. Reviewed by Shannon C., Teen Board Member.
New Series Books for February
What's better than a book (and no, we don't mean ice cream)? It's a whole series of books! At Kidsreads.com, we know that a lot of you are all about series. Once you find characters, topics or a fictional world you love, you don't want to leave! That's why we add new books to our series features every month. Read below to see this month's updates, and click here to visit our Series page!
Sherlock Sam, Book 3
SHERLOCK SAM AND THE SINISTER LETTERS IN BRAS BASAH by A.J. Low
Big Nate, Book 16
BIG NATE: What's a Little Noogie Between Friends? by Lincoln Peirce
Kid Beowulf, Book 2
KID BEOWULF: The Song of Roland by Alexis E. Fajardo
Simon Thorn, Book 2
SIMON THORN AND THE VIPER'S PIT by Aimée Carter
Tuesdays at the Castle, Book 5
SATURDAYS AT SEA by Jessica Day George
Witch Wars, Book 2
WITCH SWITCH by Sibéal Pounder with illustrations by Laura Ellen Anderson
The Sleuths of Somerville, Book 4
TOUR OF TROUBLE by Michele Jakubowski with illustrations by Amerigo Pinelli
Lola Levine, Book 4
LOLA LEVINE MEETS JELLY AND BEAN by Monica Brown with illustrations by Angela Dominguez
Omega City, Book 2
OMEGA CITY: The Forbidden Fortress by Diana Peterfreund
Fizzopolis, Book 3
FIZZOPOLIS #3: Snoodles! by Patrick Carman with illustrations by Brian Sheesley
Finding Serendipity, Book 3
BLUEBERRY PANCAKES FOREVER by Angelica Banks
Tut, Book 2
TUT: My Epic Battle to Save the World by P. J. Hoover
Secondhand Heroes, Book 2
IN THE TRENCHES by Justin LaRocca Hansen
Hilo, Book 3
HILO BOOK 3: The Great Big Boom by Judd Winick
The Bad Guys, Book 2
THE BAD GUYS IN MISSION UNPLUCKABLE by Aaron Blabey
Pip Bartlett, Book 2
PIP BARTLETT'S GUIDE TO UNICORN TRAINING by Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce
Billy Sure Kid Entrepreneur, Book 11
BILLY SURE KID ENTREPRENEUR VS. MANNY REYES KID ENTREPRENEUR (Book 11) by Luke Sharpe with illustrations by Graham Ross
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