Summerlost

by Ally Condie

Read an 32 page excerpt

Giveaway: Ally Condie Prize Pack: 5 finished copies of SUMMERLOST, paperback copy of ATLANTIA, copy of book one of MATCHED

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Summerlost by Ally Condie

 

 

A Spring 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016

 

 

 

 

Praise:

“Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Multiple, seemingly random details, including a family of turkey vultures that now roost outside Cedar’s window, an absurd soap opera narrative of a woman buried alive, and Leo’s quest for a trip with his father, coalesce into metaphors that help Cedar make sense of her grief and the life she now has to look forward to. Thoughtful, poetic chapter endings guide readers new to psychological depth toward meaningful connections between plot events and thematic reflections.” – BCCB

“A moving tale of friendship and loss. I loved these characters—I wish we could have been friends when I was a kid.” –Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Five Kingdoms series

“Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.” – The Novel Novice

“A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set.” – Booklist

“Honest, lovely, and sad.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A sweet, heartfelt story.” – School Library Journal

“Achingly good.” – Summer Laurie, Books Inc.

Letter from Ally:

Dear Readers,

I think most of us have had our hearts broken. Sometimes we can see it coming, and sometimes it comes down with the unexpected force of a sudden gale of wind or a rising of waters that we thought were still and safe. Loss is universal to human experience, but the way we each feel and recover is one of the most personal things we do.

In Summerlost, Cedar is dealing with the loss of her father and younger brother. And my intent was to show how hard their deaths are for her. But this is also a book about the healing power of friendship. Most of us have been broken-hearted; I hope that most of us have also discovered the miracle of friendships that were just what we needed. Cedar and Leo’s friendship is based on someone I met when I was twelve. Like Leo, my friend was fun and liked to enlist me in crazy adventures (although we never gave a secret guided tour of our town the way they do in Summerlost). And, like Leo, he thought I was wonderful and of worth at a time when I needed it most.

SUMMERLOST is my attempt to pay tribute both to the pain we feel and the friendships that save us. Thank you so much for supporting this book, and for your willingness to give Cedar’s story a try. I hope it makes you think of a wonderful friend of your own, whether that is someone you met in the pages of a favorite book or outside, in the world where it is often hard and beautiful to live.

Best wishes and happy reading always,

Ally Condie

Duck & Goose Let’s Dance

written and illustrated by Tad Hills

original song by Lauren Savage and Ross Gruet

Duck and Goose Let's Dance Written and Illustrated By Tad Hills

 

Duck and Goose is a fun little book series and one that kids love. They are perfect read aloud’s that hold the attention span of the listener and create laugh out loud moments. Duck and Goose are the cutest little characters and I feel this books will become classic picture books. The bright colorful illustrations are inviting and will capture and hold the little bookworms. The sentences are simple and short which would be make this book a good beginning reader. Duck & Goose Let’s Dance is a board book so it is sturdy for lots of reading wear and hold’s up well for toting around while out and about. This book comes with an added bonus of downloading a song that accompanies this board book.

summary: Honk, quack, dance and sing with Duck & Goose in this fun new board book, which includes an original Duck & Goose song.

Bunny Books

Bunnies, Bunnies and more Bunnies are being featured today. Bunnies are so cute and sweet and kids, as well as adults love them. I’m featuring some great little bunny books today that are great for spring time and any time.

Pat the Bunny: First Books for Baby By Dorothy and Edith Kunhardt

Pat the Bunny First Books for Baby By Dorothy and Edith Kunhardt

 

Pat the Bunny is a go to classic for newborns. People have baby showers and baby rooms centered around this classic book series. Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers love the interactive feature of this book series and it grows with the child. From babies who we help them with all the textures, to toddlers that do the textures as we read the books to them. Than as preschoolers they have the book memorized and love that they can “read” the book. My girls both had this book memorized and felt so big when they would read it to me. 🙂

summary: Three classic pat the bunny books in one charming slipcase! A perfect way to celebrate Bunny’s 75th anniversary! This boxed set includes pat the bunny, pat the puppy, and pat the cat. Touch and feel elements and pull tabs invite children to explore these books on their own–or to snuggle up and play with mom or dad!

A Friend For Bo by Elizabeth Zuniga

A Friend For Bo by Elizabeth Zuniga

 

Oh my gosh A Friend For Bo is simply adorable! I love the watercolor like illustrations and the story is so sweet. Kids will really love this new picture book and I hope that the author Elizabeth Zuniga creates more adorable picture books. This is going on my must gift book for any little ones birthdays, baby showers, and visits to the hospital.

summary: A Friend for Bo, is the story of a little rabbit who makes a new friend named Rollie! The only problem is that Rollie doesn’t like doing much. Not reading, not boating, and not even playing! How can Bo get his new friend to have some fun? And also . . . just what is Bo’s new friend? Well, his new friend is an egg, a fact that has gone right over Bo’s ears.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams; illustrated by William Nicholson

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams illustrated by William Nicholson

 

The Velveteen Rabbit is my most favorite picture book ever. I have so many different copies and editions. This book is my collectible, I’ve been collecting it since I was little. The Velveteen Rabbit is magical, I love the story and how the boy’s love makes the stuffed bunny come to life. I can’t get enough of this classic and anyone who has invited to any showers or birthday’s has received a copy of this book and they all have fallen in love with it as much as me.

summary: A new gift edition of one of the most beloved children’s stories, newly available with the luminous color of the original edition. With illustrations re-scanned from a 1922 first edition and a sumptuous cloth binding, this lovingly reconstructed classic is the ideal collectible gift for Easter and holidays throughout the year. At first a brand-new toy, now a threadbare and discarded nursery relic, the velveteen rabbit is saved from peril by a magic fairy who whisks him away to the idyllic world of Rabbitland. There, he becomes “Real,” a cherished childhood companion who will be loved for eternity. Treasured for generations, here is a timeless tale about the magic of boundless love.

Bunnies everywhere

Easter is just a few days away and I’m sharing a few cute picture books that would be great to have for some bedtime, story time or holiday reading on Easter Sunday.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail by Mary Man-Kong illustrated by Random House

Here Comes Peter Cottontail by Mary Man-Kong illustrated by Random House

 

We all know the song but I know my preschooler’s were always surprised there was a picture book by the same title. The story is a bit long in text, depending on the age or the listeners you might need to pace it out over a day or 2 reading bedtimes. When I had the youngest preschool class I read it over lunch time, I did that a lot with longer books. The kids loved listening to stories while eating and they seemed to eat a lot better too. The illustrations are bright and colorful and fit the story to a T. This story has the Easter bunny and briefly Santa so it might not be for every house or classroom but if you celebrate these holidays than grab this classic. The book includes Easter egg holders and stickers so this might be a fun addition to the traditional egg dying session. You and your little ones can create child lit easter eggs.

summary: Children ages 3 to 7 will love to celebrate Easter with this full-color storybook based on the classic Peter Cottontail Claymation TV special from 1971. Plus, it features press-out Easter egg holders and over 30 stickers!

The Bunny Hop (Sesame Street) by Sarah Albee

The Bunny Hop (Sesame Street) by Sarah Albee

 

Who doesn’t love Sesame Street, well OK sadly my youngest never liked the show no matter how many times I tried. However she did love this classic picture book and we read it so many times, even when it was wasn’t Easter time. I think I loved this adorable picture book just as much as my girls and preschooler’s. Bunnies have invaded Sesame Street and the characters are finding them everywhere. Kids  will love seeing all the funny places the bunnies show up at. The Bunny Hop is adorable and I can see why it is a Golden Book story title.

summary: A riotously funny Sesame Street Little Golden Book about Easter bunnies run wild! On Easter morning, Elmo, Grover, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, and their Sesame Street friends find cute bunnies in the strangest (and funniest) places! Where did they come from?

Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung and that means books about bunnies, baby animals and more. Today I’m sharing some great little books that kids of all ages will love. From timeless classics to new picture books, here is a great list to add to list of great books for spring time or anytime.

Quackers by Liz Wong

Quackers by Liz Wong

 

Quackers is a cute picture book about a farm cat who has being living at the pond since he or she was born, so naturally the kitty thinks they are a duck. One day he meets another farm kitten and finds out he isn’t a duck at all. They go and hang out with the other cats in the barn and doing cat things. However Quackers misses all the ducks and learns in the end that sometimes family can also be your best friends.

summary: A cat who thinks he’s a duck? He must be Quackers! Quackers is a duck. Sure, he may have paws and whiskers. And his quacks might sound more like . . . well, meows, but he lives among ducks, everyone he knows is a duck, and he’s happy. 

A Book of Babies by II Sung Na

A Book of Babies by II Sung Na

 

A Book of Babies is an adorable book perfect for spring and Easter season. This book is also a wonderful gift for new big brothers and sisters. The illustrations are cute, colorful. Parts of the text remind of a poem,  and the text is simple and big making it great for beginning readers. Kids of all ages love babies and baby animals so this one might just become a favorite in your house and classroom.

summary: When the flowers begin to bloom and the world starts turning green, animals everywhere are born. Some are born with soft, warm fur, while some are born with smooth scales. Some can walk right away—others need a little help! As with Il Sung Na’s previous offerings, A Book of Babies is filled with rich illustrations, endearing animals, and a simple text, all wrapped up in a gorgeous package that is perfect for Easter baskets.

Richard Scarry’s Bunnies

Richard Scarry Bunnies

 

This shaped board book is the perfect book and gift for the youngest little bookworm. The pages are sturdy and little ones will love the adorable bunny on the cover. This book is mainly a book about all the cute bunnies there are in the world. The dutch bunny mentioned in the book looks just like our little Cuddles Alec D’Addario that my oldest got for her birthday a few years ago. Man we love that little cuddle bunny. Richard Scarry’s Bunnies has short simple sentences and cute illustrations making this timeless classic a go to book each and ever spring, Easter and any time you need a cute bunny book fix.

summary: In this bunny-shaped board book reissue, Scarry introduces readers to all kinds of rabbits with wit and humor—from real-life breeds such as the Vienna Blue and lop-eared, to his whimsical clothed bunny characters (“Rabbits like to all get dressed up if they are going to be in a story book.”). Scarry’s colorful paintings have been digitally restored to their original splendor for this edition—the perfect Easter gift!

I Am Bunny by Ole Risom and illustrated by Richard Scarry

I Am Bunny by Ole Risom illustrated by Richard Scarry

 

I Am Bunny is a seasonal book about the great things about each season and what a cute little bunny by the name of Nicholas loves. I remember this book growing up and my girls remember it, making this book a tradition that hopefully will be past down by my girls. Golden books are so special and I love their simple story lines which hold the youngest listeners attention and makes great memories for everyone. The sentences are simple and don’t use big words making this a good beginning reader book. I love the illustrations in this book, Richard Scarry has leaned himself to many books and this team of him and Ole Risom created a wonderful book.

summary: The Richard Scarry classic is now available as a Little Golden Book–for the first time ever! I Am a Bunny now stars in the Little Golden Book line! Richard Scarry’s character of Nicholas the bunny will now be available alongside other iconic Little Golden Book characters such as the Poky Little Puppy and Scuffy the Tugboat!

The Bunny Book by Patsy Scarry and illustrated by Richard Scarry

The Bunny Book by Patsy Scarry and illustrated by Richard Scarry

 

The Bunny Book is a book about “What do you want to be when you grow up? “. This is a question that many of us ask our kids and students through out the years. Some kids it changes daily and others have known since they were asked. My girls have wanted to be scientist since they were 3 years old, they have never wavered. The Bunny Book talks about all kinds of jobs from police officer to candy store owner. The text is a bit more heavy in this book making it a bit longer and one depending on the age you might need to break this book up in sections.  The illustrations are classic Richard Scarry and will be familiar to kids if you’ve read any of the above books that were written or illustrations by him.

summary: This sweet story is one of Richard Scarry’s very best. Long popular as a Little Golden Book, this tale of a large bunny family wondering what their baby will grow up to become is now available as a board book–perfect for springtime gift-giving

thank you Random House for Young Readers, Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers and Liz Wong for sending me Quackers for review.  Quackers book reviewed in this book bundle is my opinion and not influenced by the free book.

*All other books (besides Quackers) were library books and part of the Random House Spring spotlight post. All reviews are my opinion and not influenced by their suggestions. I truly love these books and have been sharing them with my kids as well as my preschool students for years.

 

Earth Day middle grade books

There are many great Earth Day reads for upper elementary and middle grade readers. Today I’m going to share 2 that are the favorites right now with this age group. We really loved Fuzzy Mud and Chomp was a great book also, Hoot is our favorite but Chomp is right up there. Both these books raise awareness and might just get your reader asking questions and researching ways to help their local environment.

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

 

Courage just meant pretending to be brave. “After all, if you’re not scared, then there’s nothing to be brave about is there?” (P. 15) this is one of my favorite lines from the book. I love it and it is so true.

Fuzzy Mud was written by a favorite kid lit author of mine and he did not disappoint! This book has 2 main themes throughout the story and does an excellent job and making them both work through out the storyline: Bullying and the Human Impact on the Environment. This book is a beyond 5 stars for me, I loved how it flowed so well and has mystery and suspense in it. This book would appeal to upper elementary and middle school. I think it would be a good classroom read aloud and would fit in perfectly with a science unit on the environment. This book even talks about secret senate meetings (loved reading those “transcripts”) the CDC and NIH are even mentioned and a part of the book. Fuzzy Mud helps raise awareness for the environment and I hope it goes on to win awards.

Tamaya: A sweet girl who wants to do the right thing. Even when that right thing means going back into the Fuzzy Mud woods to help find the kid who is the biggest bully she has ever known. She is scared because she knows there is something very wrong about the Fuzzy Mud but she is going to be brave because it’s the right thing to do.

Marshall: A good kid who is the target for the school bully. He hates school and just wish he could be invisible. He doesn’t have any friends anymore and he wish life was like before the bully targeted him. However he is best friends with Tamaya and she has gone missing and he knows where she is heading. Now he just needs to put on a brave face and go searching for her even it means facing the one who has made his life awful.

Chad: Oh Chad is that bully that targets one kid and makes his or her life horrible. Maybe he doesn’t have a great home life? Or maybe he is just mean? Either way he is mad and he has his sights set on Marshall. However he is going to cross paths with both Tamaya and Marshall in the woods and to get away Tamaya is going to expose both her and Chad to the Fuzzy Mud.

In the end all 3 come together to help each other out…

summary: Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

 

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Chomp by Carl Hiassen

 

I  grabbed Chomp from the local library as an ebook. It was a bundle that also included Hoot, Flush, and Scat. It was a some fun reading and I think upper elementary and middle grade kids would love this set either all together as an ebook or individually as a physical book or ebooks. Hiaasen writes with such a great flair and creative flow that I can’t imagine anyone not loving his books. Readers will enjoy the plot and settings of the books as well as the likable characters. I love the sarcastic humor that is always sprinkled throughout any of his books and Chomp did not disappoint. Chomp delivers a great message about Carl Hiassens passion for the environment and how things we are doing are affecting plants and animals. He doesn’t preach it so much so that it turns off the reader or goes over the younger reader’s head. Chomp as well as any of his books would be great read alouds for the home or classroom. You could use any of his books as a jumping point for further action and study of your own local environment and habitats.

summary: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one.
When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.
They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun . . .
It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”. . . .

thank you so very much Penguin Random House for kids, Delacorte Books for Young Readers and Louis Sachar for allowing me to read and review this. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars it was so good! All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Charlotte Voake

 

Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson illustrated by Charlotte Voake

 

I have always had a fondness for Beatrix Potter books. They are such pretty little books the illustrations while colorful are done in watercolor so they are soothing as well. The stories are cute and classics that never get old. I think after reading Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig I love her books even more. She loved pets and had many growing up, we do to in this house. We have 2 dogs, a bunny, 2 turtles and a frog, plus we feed 2 stray cats. Personally Cuddles is my favorite, he is such a sweet little bunny. However Beatrix didn’t have the best luck when it came to keeping her pets, or borrowed pets alive. She might not be the one people called to for petting sitting back then.

I loved that this story is based on what happened when Beatrix Potter borrowed Queen Elizabeth the guinea pig and the painting that eventually sold for thousands of pounds. This is a historical fiction book and the illustrations remind me of those that would be found in one of Potter’s books. The best part of fans of the books and author is the last few pages that include actual photos and bio of the lovely and talented Beatrix Potter. This is a must have for any picture book collector, reader, whether it is a teacher, parent or librarian. This would also be a lovely gift to include in a Beatrix Potter gift basket for a new mom.

summary: Published in time for the 150th anniversary of her birth, this story stars a young Beatrix Potter, creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and many other classic children’s books.


Master of the historical fiction picture book, Hopkinson takes readers back to Victorian England and the home of budding young artist and animal lover Beatrix Potter. When Beatrix brings home her neighbor’s pet guinea pig so that she can practice painting it, well . . . it dies! Now what?

thank you so much Random House Children’s Books, Schwartz and Wade, Deborah Hopkinson and Charlotte Voake for allowing me to read and review Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of the Borrowed Guinea Pig. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.