Thursday, December 8

Behind the Scenes of Eden's Escape by M. Tara Crowl (with Giveaway!)

Another guest post today! So excited: we get to hear from M. Tara Crowl, author of the Eden of the Lamp series. Let's kick things off with some book blurbs, and then we'll hear from Ms. Crowl herself about the inspiration for the newest in the series, Eden's Escape. Also? A giveaway!! See below to enter for a signed copy of the book!


Eden’s Wish
(Eden of the Lamp #1)
By M. Tara Crowl
From Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Ages 9-12

All twelve years of Eden's life have been spent in an antique oil lamp. She lives like a princess inside her tiny, luxurious home; but to Eden, the lamp is nothing but a prison. She hates being a genie. All she wants, more than anything, is freedom.

When Eden finds a gateway to Earth within the lamp, she takes her chance and enters the world she loves. And this time, she won't be sent back after three wishes.

Posing as the new kid at a California middle school, Eden revels in all of Earth's pleasures—but quickly learns that this world isn't as perfect as she always thought it was. Eden soon finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between powerful immortals. A ruthless organization run by a former genie will stop at nothing to acquire the lamp and its power—even hurt Tyler and Sasha, the new mortal friends who have given Eden a home. To save her friends and protect the lamp's magic, Eden must decide once and for all where she belongs.

Find at your library / Goodreads / Amazon

Eden’s Escape
(Eden of the Lamp #2)
By M. Tara Crowl
From Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Ages 9-12

Eden's new life on earth begins in New York City under the guidance of her new guardian: Pepper, a petite, bubbly genie alum who's also a Broadway actress. Before she has a chance to settle in, though, Eden is whisked away for a granting—only to find herself trapped in a laboratory. David Brightly, owner of the world's leading tech company, cares more about tapping into the lamp's power than making a wish and starts performing tests on Eden. With Brightly's plasma shield around the lamp, Eden has no way home. Left without a choice, she escapes the lab and goes on the run. After her daring exit, Eden finds herself on the streets of Paris—home to Electra's headquarters. Left in a strange city with a price on her head (courtesy of scheming Brightly), Eden has to keep her wits about her. She dons a chic disguise and flits around Paris incognito, investigating Brightly Tech. Assisted by Pepper and her old adversary Bola, as well as some new friends, Eden embarks on a quest to retrieve the lamp and protect the secrets of the genie legacy.

Find at your library / Goodreads / Amazon

Monday, December 5

Reviews of the Week 12/5

Between this week and last, I've got a good range of nonfiction books for all ages! I do think nonfiction goes unappreciated quite often, so if you've got a child on your gifting list this holiday season, perhaps give some of these a try.


Friday, December 2

Review for a Perfectly Bookish Gift Idea: Book of the Month Club

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksthanks for supporting the upkeep of this blog!*

Ah, the holidays...when my own book collection grows significantly. It's true: I like getting gifted with lots of books. And if there's someone on your gift list that feels the same way? Well, have you heard of the Book of the Month Club?

It's like giving the gift of books...over and over. Which is just genius, really.

Wednesday, November 30

The 12 Days of Children's Christmas Books

Who needs eight maids a-milking when you could read fantastic books instead? Okay, sorry, corny joke, but I did pick twelve Christmas books in honor of that song. You could give a kid the 12 days of Christmas books! Or read a book the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Or do a cool display. Or anything else your heart desires.

Personally, I'd read them every night before Christmas. This was always a family tradition of mine, to read holiday books together. This list, actually, is a collection of my very, very favorite reads from those many December nights. You see, I realized that there were certain books that I eagerly looked forward to every year. So yes, there are a lot of holiday books out there, but here are the ones that get me every time, with the last being my most favorite of all...

Snowmen at Christmas
Written by Caralyn Buehner, illustrated by Mark Buehner
978-0803729957 (Dial, 2005)

Ever wondered how snowmen celebrate? After everyone's asleep, they have their own big Christmas party, of course! Eating icy treats, they sing and dance, and eagerly await their snow gifts from snowman Kris Kringle. This book is written in wonderful rhyme, so it's perfect to read aloud. And then the pictures are so detailed and fun! Of course, I will also admit that it is written by a former teacher at my old elementary school, so I am especially biased...but still! So good. I sure love reading about the snowmen at Christmas.

Monday, November 28

Reviews of the Week 11/28

A solid group of 4-stars today. My holiday-break-reads were fun, inspiring, hilarious, and completely tragic. Yeah, I have quite the rollercoaster of emotions for you this week...


Wednesday, November 23

Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived Will Never Die

It's practically Friday, right? What with a wonderful holiday tomorrow. So I'm just going to do a Fun Friday post today. Mainly because I found this comic online and it made me laugh really hard so I had to share it.

Harry Potter, my friends. His awesomeness will never die. In both the sense that the excellent series will continue to garner fans in years to come and...because people will want to keep making a buck off of it by creating all sorts of spin-offs. For instance, the recent release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (yes, both the movie and screenplay book). A return to the wizarding world and the writing of J. K. Rowling for Harry Potter fans everywhere! (...and sadly, I have not yet seen the movie or read the screenplay. Soon to be remedied! Thanksgiving-tradition-of-going-to-a-movie to the rescue!)

Which brings me to the subject of this comic. Apparently, the only way to make a really excellent movie out of J. K. Rowling's to have her write the screenplay itself.

But hey, it makes for a funny comic strip...

Behold, George Rottkamp's comparisons between the Harry Potter books and movies.

Monday, November 21

Reviews of the Week 11/21

Thanksgiving this week! So yes, my mind is already on time with family eating delicious food. But there's always still time for books. The ones this week were pretty good, especially a certain picture book that's been garnering some Caldecott buzz...


Thursday, November 17

15 Extension Activities for I Want My Hat Back

Welcome back to my new series of posts highlighting some of my very favorite, favorite books and the supplementary games, songs, and activities you could use with them. This could be useful for library programs, the classroom, home schooling, or (of course) to just have fun with your kids! Previously, I've created fun activity lists for books like If You Plant a Seed and Mother Bruce. Now I'll share ideas for...

Oh, the irreverent humor of Jon Klassen in I Want My Hat Back. This is practically a classic by now, it's just so great. It's short, it's to the point, and man, does it have the best ending. So what sort of activities can go along with this book? Well, here are some ideas that will appeal to its target audience of kids aged 4 - 8 years.

1. Make your own pointy hatPlaying by the Book knows just what to do after enjoying this book: make and decorate your own beloved headwear! Her instructions (and my source for the photo) can be found here.

Monday, November 14

Reviews of the Week 11/14

What?? Two five-star ratings in one post?? I know, crazy. But there were some serious favorites that I read this week. Granted, they are biased favorites, because they appeal to my personal preferences, but I think a lot of other people will like them, too. Obviously. So see what you think!


Friday, November 11

Mock Newbery 2017

So maybe I'm calling it too early, but too bad. I want to share the books that I think should receive some Newbery attention.

Granted, with recent shake-ups in the norm (yes, I'm referring to the picture book that won last year, and the recent graphic novel honorees), it's pretty hard to get a good feel for what the committee might be eyeing. But I'm still going to take a stab at it. Or at least share some of my favorite middle-grade fiction from the last year, anyway.

And no, I know, I've never been spot on right, but I've gotten an honoree or two (see my mock 2015 and mock 2016). This year, there's a lot of good, but not one that just totally stands out to me like the last few years. It's a hard selection this year. I seriously spent a lot of time thinking about these.

But here are what I would call "the most distinguished contribution[s] to American literature for children"