Category Archives: Reads

April 27, 2016

Twisted Fairy Tales

Posted by at 1:13 am in Reads | Permalink

Recommend me!I love all fairy tales whether they are books, movies, plays, or even ballets! From Frozen to Sisters Grimm, to Swan Lake, I love it all. The fairy tales in this list are a bit . . . twisted. They are based on the original stories, but then there is some kind of twist to make it different and interesting.

Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale for Ages 7–10
The houses of all Three (not-so-) Little Pigs were broken into and ransacked, and the Pigs are squealing for justice. So Prince Tyrone, ruler of Fairylandia, drags in the obvious suspect: Wolfgang.

The lone wolf has big teeth, sharp claws, no alibi—and a single day to find the real culprit and clear his big bad name. When Wolf (reluctantly) teams up with the fourth Little Pig to crack the case, the Big Bad Detective Agency—and an adventure way funnier than your average fairy tale—is born!

Tyme #1: Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel by Megan Morrison for Ages 8–12
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so—her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can’t imagine any other life.

Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He’s the first person Rapunzel’s ever met who isn’t completely charmed by her (well, the first person she’s met at all, really), and he is infuriating—especially when he hints that Witch isn’t telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised . . . and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.

Whatever After: Beauty Queen by Sarah Mlynowski for Ages 8-12
This time, the magic mirror sucks Abby and Jonah into the story of Beauty and the Beast. When the siblings accidentally mess up this enchanting and magical tale, hijinks and hilarity ensue . . . and things get pretty ugly! See also the other books in the Whatever After series.

Grimmtastic Girls #6: Goldilocks Breaks In by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams for Ages 8–12
Goldilocks wants everything in her life to be just right, but sometimes at Grimm Academy, there are too many choices. When she sneaks into Grimmstone Library after hours, she’ll have to make a tough decision if she wants to discover her magic charm! See also the other Grimmtastic books.

Twice Upon a Time #1: Rapunzel, the One With All the Hair by Wendy Mass for Ages 8-12
Rapunzel is having the ultimate bad day. She’s been stolen from home by an evil witch, locked in an incredibly high tower, and doesn’t even have a decent brush for her hair. Prince Benjamin is in a pretty uncomfortable situation himself. His father wants him to be more kingly, his mother wants him to never leave her sight, and his cousin wants to get him into as much trouble as possible. Plus, there’s the little matter of prearranged marriages. . . . Both Rapunzel and Prince Benjamin are trapped—in very different ways. It’s only when their paths cross, that things really start to change. Also available: Twice Upon a Time #2: Sleeping Beauty, The One Who Took the Really Long Nap. Twice Upon a Time #3: Beauty and the Beast, the Only One Who Didn’t Run Away

If you love fairy tales like I do, try these books and tell me what you think in the Comments.

Sonja

March 30, 2016

Books About Bullying

Posted by at 11:15 am in Reads | Permalink

Survival Guide to BullyingBooks About Bullying

Being bullied is the worst. If you are being bullied right now, please try these tips and tell a grown-up what you are going through. Definitely do not suffer alone! I wish for a world where no one ever has to feel bullied, but here are some books to help you relate.

The Survival Guide to Bullying by Aija Mayrock
for ages 10 and up
Written by a teenager who was bullied throughout middle school and high school, this book offers a fresh and relatable perspective on bullying. Along the way, the author offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her get through even the toughest of days. From inspiring “roems” (rap poems), survival tips, personal stories, and quick quizzes, this book will light the way to a brighter future.

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
for ages 8-12

This is a powerful story of a unique friendship between a troubled, over-sized boy and the tiny, physically challenged genius who proves that courage comes in all sizes. This simple yet timeless story explores many themes

The Loser List by H.N. Kowitt
for ages 8-12

When Danny Shine (rhymes with “whine”) finds out he’s on the infamous Loser List in the girls’ bathroom, his mission to erase it lands him in detention. That fateful afternoon, the school’s bullies (who live in detention) discover that Danny can draw. Suddenly he’s not a target anymore—he’s a “bad boy”! Supplying tattoos and graffiti for the bullies is great, until Danny is unwittingly drawn into a crime. His new friends took a comic from Danny’s favorite store, and now Danny has to steal it back, return it, and break off with the bullies—before he goes from dork to delinquent. See also the other books in the Loser List series.

Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
for ages 8-12

Zulaikha hopes for peace now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her—“Inshallah,” God willing. Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to her village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha—but can she dare to hope they’ll come true?

Warp Speed by Lisa Yee
for ages 8-12

Entering seventh grade is no big deal for Marley Sandelski: Same old boring classes, same old boring life. The only thing he has to look forward to is the upcoming Star Trek convention. But when he inadvertently draws the attention of Digger Ronster, the biggest bully in school, his life officially moves from boring to far too dramatic . . . from invisible to center stage.

Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine
for ages 10-14

National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine delivers a powerful story of family, friendship, and race relations in the South. Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He’s a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Rocky Gap, Virginia. Red’s daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and Mama with some hard decisions and a whole lot of doubt. Should they sell the Porter family business, a gas station, repair shop, and convenience store rolled into one, where the slogan—“Porter’s: We Fix it Right!”—has been shouting the family’s pride for as long as anyone can remember? With Daddy gone, everything’s different. Through his friendship with Thomas, Beau, and Miss Georgia, Red starts to see there’s a lot more than car motors and rusty fenders that need fixing in his world. When Red discovers the injustices that have been happening in Rocky Gap since before he was born, he’s faced with unsettling questions about his family’s legacy.

March 23, 2016

Books About Magical Kids

Posted by at 1:16 am in Reads | Permalink

Books about MAGICAL KIDS!

Do you ever wish you could wake up with magical powers? It would be so cool to make myself invisible, or move objects just by waving my hands, or eat endless amounts of chocolate without getting sick . . . Well, that last one is more of a superpower, but you get my point. If you love the idea of being able to do magic, here are some awesome books about kids with magical powers.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Of course Harry Potter is on this list. What’s not to love about this amazing series? After a pretty rough start in life, young orphan Harry Potter is surprised to discover that he’s actually a wizard. At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he learns to master his abilities, makes some incredible fellow wizard and witch friends, goes on wild adventures, and finds himself at the center of an epic battle between good and evil!

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Poor dyslexic Percy’s life changes once he learns he is the son of the Greed god Poseidon. As if this news doesn’t make his world complicated enough, he also discovers that his life is in danger! At Camp Half-Blood, he meets other demigods (half-god, half-humans) and is tasked with the responsibility of preventing an all-out war from erupting between the gods . . . which is no easy task for someone just learning of his magical abilities!

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo
Charlie is less than happy when he discovers that he can suddenly hear people speaking to him through photographs. (I mean, it is pretty creepy! And probably totally annoying.) Once his special talent is discovered, though, he is shipped off by his scheming aunts to the dreary Bloor Academy. But what is the history behind his talent, and why is he being kept at this horrid school with all these other gifted children?

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
Isn’t chocolate amazing? John Midas certainly thinks so, and he gets really mad when he’s told by the doctor to eat more healthy food and less chocolate. But a seemingly chance encounter with a mysterious candy man leaves John with an even stranger magical power: everything he touches turns into chocolate! That may seem like a very awesome (maybe the awesomest?) magical power to have, but things start to get messy really, really fast!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
For everyone who ever thought, “By golly, having ANY magical power sure beats having NO magical power,” meet Ella. Given the “gift” of obedience at birth by a fairy, Ella is unable to disobey any direct order. After her mother passes away, Ella finds herself at the mercy of her truly terrible stepsisters and equally horrid stepmother who have learned to make her their slave. But with a little creativity and some wonderful friends, Ella may just find a way out from under her “gift”—and even find true love.

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Felicity Pickle has a very unusual ability: she can SEE words, and the words tell her an awful lot about people and places. In the town of Midnight Gulch, she sees “home.” But there’s also a terrible spell hanging over Midnight Gulch, and unless Felicity can return magic back into the once magical town, she may never get to call this place her home.

The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Emily lives on a boat with her mom, but weirdly enough, she’s always been told to stay away from the water. It turns out, she’s actually a mermaid! Emily embarks on a journey to find her real mer-father and the truth behind her birth (and tail!). Along the way, she discovers some incredible and heartbreaking things about the magical creatures she is beginning to understand are her family.

The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
Living in a city that runs on magic would be pretty cool . . . unless that magic started running out. Conn, a young boy living in such a city, accidentally comes in contact with a powerful stone while trying to pickpocket a wizard. When he doesn’t die, he’s taken in as the wizard’s apprentice. While learning his own magical abilities and searching for his own stone, he begins to discover exactly that is draining his city’s magic.

Savvy by Ingrid Law
What if you knew you had a magical power, but you had to wait until you turned thirteen to find out what it was? Welcome to Mibs’ world! In her family, everyone possesses an ability (known as a “savvy”) that reveals itself to them on their thirteenth birthday. But on the days leading up to her big day, Mibs’ world is suddenly turned upside down. Can her power—whatever it is—save a loved one who needs it the most?

Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
Rowan is shy and likes to spend his time caring for animals, unlike the rest of the people in his village who are bold and brave. But when the river running through the village runs dry, Rowan is the only one able to read a magical map that can lead a band of villagers up a mountain and to the river’s source . . . and whatever mystery has stopped it from flowing.

Well now, that’s some list! Did I miss any of your favorites? Which ones are you most excited to read, and which ones have you read and loved? Share your picks in the Comments below!

Happy magical adventuring,

En-Szu

March 16, 2016

Books About Girls Who Rock

Posted by at 1:47 am in Reads | Permalink

Books about GIRLS WHO ROCK!

Being a girl is awesome. Girls are funny, smart, cool, and brave! Read these ten super-fantastic books about girls who rock, so you can remember that you, too, are a girl who rocks!

Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda is a smart, funny girl who loves a good prank—especially if it’s on one of her terrible, selfish family members. Her teacher, Ms. Honey, realizes that Matilda is very smart — but the bully headmistress, Ms. Trunchbull, is determined to prevent Matilda from moving up to a higher class. Meanwhile, Matilda discovers that she has developed a strange superpower . . . and while it’s good for a prank or two (or three!), it might also be the key to changing her life forever.

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Things are getting steadily worse for everyone in Annamarie’s Nazi-occupied hometown of Copenhagen in 1943, but things are especially bad for the Jewish residents. First their stores are closed down, and then they are rounded up by Nazis and shipped off to concentration camps. Annamarie’s best friend, Ellen, is Jewish. To protect her, Annamarie and her family pretend that Ellen is Annamarie’s sister . . . but how long can they keep up the act before they are discovered?

El Deafo by Cece Bell
Cece loses her hearing when she is just a toddler, and has to wear a very bulky and uncomfortable hearing aid. And the hearing aid (called The Phonic Ear) doesn’t just get in her way physically: Cece wonders if it’s getting in the way of her making a real friend. But Cece discovers that The Phonic Ear is a lot more powerful than most people realize . . . not just her “superpower,” but a way for her to find her inner superhero.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet is bright and can sometimes be a know-it-all, but she’s a lovable one with great friends. Her favorite activity is to observe other people and record her thoughts in a notebook, as training for her future dream job as a writer. But when Harriet’s caretaker announces she’s getting married and leaving, and Harriet’s notebook is discovered by her schoolmates, everything turns topsy-turvy. Harriet finds herself friendless, and the kids at school have formed a club against her! Can Harriet find a way to use her smarts to get out of this pickle, or is she doomed to be lonely forever?

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
For Jacqueline, growing up in the segregated south in the 1960s is not easy. There is a lot of racism, and even though there are good people, they are outnumbered by the bad. So it’s no surprise when her mother decides to move to New York City. Splitting her time between New York City with her mother and Greenville, South Carolina with her grandparents, Jacqueline struggles to understand where she fits in to the rapidly changing world . . . and the answer might be much closer than she thinks.

Sweet Home Alaska by Carol Estby Dagg
During the great depression, Terpischore and her family are given the chance to start a new life in Alaska (thanks to some land given to them by the government). After reading books about frontier life, Terpischore feels like she’s ready for anything . . . and even when it’s tougher than she ever imagined, upbeat Terpischore always finds something to be happy about. But her greatest challenge of all is making Alaska feel like home for everyone in her family. Can she do it?

The Finisher by David Baldacci
Vega was born and raised in the town of Wormwood, a town surrounded by a deep and mysterious forest. All her life, she has been warned of the danger that lies beyond the borders of Wormwood. One day, however, she sees someone willingly running INTO the forest . . . and he leaves behind, for Vega, a note and a map. Vega’s about to dig up a whole lot of dirt on Wormwood, and get to the bottom of the mystery!

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
When the Vietnam War reaches Ha’s hometown of Saigon, she flees with her mother and brothers. Bound for the unfamiliar shores of America, Ha has no idea what to expect—and what she finds is not at all the shiny, hopeful land she was promised. Bullied, tormented, and made to feel unwelcome, Ha’s attempts at fitting in just don’t seem to work . . . but learning just how strong she really is might be the key to Ha finding happiness once again.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan 
Esperanza lives an almost fairy tale-like life in Mexico, with a beautiful home and wonderful parents and amazing friends. She is surrounded by love and kindness and never wants for anything, but that all changes the day her father is killed by bandits, and Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave the life they have known for an uncertain future in the United States. Working in a poor labor camp is in no way like the princess treatment she is used to, but in spite of the grueling work and shabby living conditions, Esperanza is starting to see that true happiness may just come from deep within.

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Katie’s sister Lynn always finds the silver lining in every situation, even when their family moves from their Japanese community in Iowa to the unfamiliar state of Georgia. Katie is learning to think like Lynn, and be hopeful in the face of all the bullying, teasing, and homesickness she faces every day. When Lynn gets very sick, though, Katie struggles to find the hope that Lynn still has . . . and to be grateful for all the kira-kira (glittering) moments in life.

What do you think? Do you have other favorite books about girls who rock? Do you have a favorite book from this list? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Yours in rocking,

En-Szu

March 10, 2016

Introducing BEETLE BOY by M. G. Leonard

Posted by at 12:12 pm in Reads | Permalink

Beetle BoyAdventure! Laughter! Rhinoceros Beetles!

Darkus Cuttle’s dad mysteriously goes missing from his job as Director of Science at the Natural History Museum. Vanished without a trace! From a locked room! So Darkus moves in with his eccentric Uncle Max and next door to Humphrey and Pickering, two lunatic cousins with an enormous beetle infestation.Beetle Boy

Darkus soon discovers that the beetles are anything but ordinary. They’re an amazing, intelligent super species and they’re in danger of being exterminated. It’s up to Darkus and his friends to save the beetles. But they’re up against an even more terrifying villain–the mad scientist of fashion, haute couture villainess Lucretia Cutter.

Lucretia has an alarming interest in insects and dastardly plans for the bugs. She won’t let anyone or anything stop her, including Darkus’s dad, whom she has locked up in her dungeons! The beetles and kids join forces to rescue Mr. Cuttle and thwart Lucretia.

Beetle Boy is the story of a brilliant boy, his loyal friends, and some amazingly intelligent beetles.

Read an excerpt.

Watch a video with the author. 

March 9, 2016

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy KidDiary of a Wimpy Kid Book Review

Out of the books I picked to be my favorite over time, the very best is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. I like these books the best because they are really funny, are an easy read, have entertaining artwork, and they relate to the real world and how you are feeling as a middle schooler sometimes.

The books are about a boy named Greg who has a troublesome older brother and an annoying little brother. They are funny because Greg gets blamed for everything his little brother, Manny, does. His older brother, Rodrick, gets in a lot of trouble, but the blame always ends up on Greg.

Those are some reasons why the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series are the books that I enjoy the most.

Leah, Scholastic Kids Council

March 2, 2016

Dog Man By Dav Pilkey

Posted by at 4:24 pm in Dav Pilkey, Reads | Permalink

Dog Man #1Check out the cover of Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey’s new graphic novel!

Dog Man 1George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. He’s half man, half dog, and all cop! This heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can this crime-biting canine resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?

Get ready to howl with laughter. You can read Dog Man on August 30!

March 2, 2016

Best Book Series

Posted by at 1:45 am in Kid Power, Reads | Permalink

Best Book Series

I don’t have just one book to recommend. I have several series for kids aged 8-12.

so you want to be a wizardThe first: the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, beginning with So You Want to Be a Wizard (for ages 10 and up). This series is about Nita and Kit, two friends who found copies of a book entitled So You Want to Be a Wizard and were brought together. They must learn to use their wizardry while battling to postpone the universe’s death.

The second: the Unwanteds series (for ages 8 and up) by Lisa McMann. These books tell the story of the land of Quill, where creativity is a crime, and those caught committing it are sentenced to death. But the sentence isn’t exactly what is seems.

loki's wolvesThe third: the Michael Vey series (for ages 12 and up) by Richard Paul Evans. A prototype imaging machine malfunctioned, and of the 59 people born in that hospital during its test period, only 17 survived. These children acquired electrical powers. A madman makes it his goal to use them to take over the world, and gets all of them except Michael Vey.

The fourth: the Blackwell Pages series (for ages 8 and up) by K. L. Armstrong and M. A. Marr. This trilogy is about the descendants of the Norse gods and their battle to prevent the world from ending. It begins with Loki’s Wolves.

Julie, Scholastic Kids Council

February 24, 2016

A Christmas Carol

Posted by at 1:03 am in Kid Power, Reads | Permalink

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I really like stories with interesting characters who go through a real journey, especially ones that have to find courage to face a challenge. I enjoy books with action and adventure like Harry Potter. I also like stories with strong and smart girl characters like Divergent and Fairest (for ages 12 and up). But I also enjoy reading stories that have been told for a long time.

For as long as I can remember, I have grown up hearing about A Christmas Carol. I always loved the story but I never understood its true meaning until I read the book.

A Christmas Carol is about a grumpy, old man named Scrooge, who is cold to the bone and doesn’t care about anyone or anything besides money. He is a cheapskate who doesn’t even pay for electricity in his own home. But the thing Scrooge hates the most is the Christmas spirit. He doesn’t give money to the poor or take the invitation from his nephew to a nice Christmas party.  Instead he chooses to work, get money, scare off some Christmas carolers, and lecture his poor apprentice about the unfairness of having to pay him on Christmas Day for not doing any work.

christmas_carolHis mood changes, though, when he sees the ghost of his dead friend, Marley. Marley tells Scrooge of three ghosts that will come to help him change his ways. Scrooge is then taken on three journeys by the spirits of Christmas past, present, and future. As Scrooge goes through each journey, you see him change and become more sentimental and loving. You see him change from a miserable person to a person who learns and becomes better. By going through this experience with the ghosts, Scrooge is given a second chance to change his future.

I would recommend this book because it has a great moral. It teaches us all important lessons and allows us to see the world in a different light. Another reason I would recommend this book is that Dickens has a very poetic and beautiful way of writing. It can be very playful in one moment, and be very serious or heartfelt in the next. The way he writes hooks me in and entices me to read more. If you enjoy heart-touching stories with an amazing moral, I would definitely suggest A Christmas Carol.

Cynthia, Scholastic Kids Council

February 17, 2016

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Posted by at 1:06 am in Graphic Novels, Reads | Permalink

SneakPeekTake a Sneak Peek at the New Raina Telgemeier Graphic Novel!GHOSTS by raina telegemeier

Raina Telgemeier announced her next book titled Ghosts coming out in September, 2016.

Eleven-year-old Catrina and her family are moving to the small coastal town of Bahía de la Luna because her younger sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends, but she tries not to complain because she knows Maya will benefit from the clean, cool air that blows in from the sea. As the girls settle in, they learn there’s something a little spooky about their new town . . .

Sounds good, right? Take a sneak peek inside Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier!