Wednesday, October 29, 2014

WTF Did I Read? AKA Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

Smith, Andrew. Grasshopper Jungle. Dutton (Penguin Group), Feb 2014. 388p. $18.99.

Affiliate Links: Amazon | Indiebound

Genre: Science Fiction (mutant grasshopper soldiers)
Cover Appeal: Plain green with yellow pages (if you are lucky) will appeal to all with its brightness. Very eye-catching in its simplicity.

Weird. From beginning to end. And yet, I couldn't stop reading. This is my second Andrew Smith book and both were different. Grasshopper takes you through an incident of bullying, a breaking and entering, an attempt to get drunk, an underground lair, and some mutant grasshoppers who hatch from inside some randos throughout the story. The grasshoppers are key since they are pretty much impossible to stop. Or Unstoppable.  Throughout this crazy story, Austin Szerba is constantly questioning his sexuality since he's attracted to both his girlfriend, Shannon, and his best friend, Robby. I had pretty much been dystopiad/post-apocalypticed out until I read this book. I'm hoping that more authors step out the box because I am tired of the same-o, same-o. Maybe not as crazy as this one.

I recommend this for 9th and above.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dragon Slaying 101 AKAThe Story of Owen by EK Johnston

I always carry my sword in my backpack.
Johnston, E.K. Story of Owen, The (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, 1), Carolrhoda Lab. 2014. 302p. $17.95. 9781467710664.

Affiliate Links: Amazon | IndieBound

Genre: Fantasy (dragons and dragon slayers)
Cover Appeal: I think the front works better without the dragon on the cover. It's a cover students will look over because it's not bright and eye-catching.

This is actually the story of Siobhan McQuaid, bard to Owen Thorskard, high school student and dragon slayer-in-training. Siobhan is the first person to befriend Owen when his family moves to Trondheim. Owen's family is special, his aunt Lottie is the most famous Dragon Slayer of this time and his dad, Aodhan, is no slouch either. They also bring with them Hannah, the best swordsmaker. They have raised Owen in a loving and kind household. Siobhan's family are no slouches either.

As Owen and Siobhan's friendship grows, the family asks her to be Owen's bard. They want to shape the story of dragon slayers. There's a lot of talk about who controls the message and how. It's like you are reading two stories at once. And therein lies it's excellence.

"This is pretty much entirely not exactly what happened." 199

I recommend this for 7th grade and up.

Monday, October 27, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 26, 2014

What I Purchased
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page

What I Read
Chasing Before by Lenore Applehans
Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire
Hug Machine by Scott Campbell
The Ghosts Go Haunting by Helen Ketteman
Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman
First Halloween
Teeny Tiny Ghost by Kay Winters
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender - 25%
Endgame by James Frey - abandoned
Bad Magic by Pseudonymous Bosch - abandoned
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page - 50%

Singsongy Picture Books - Big Pumpkin is one of my favorite books. It was a joy to share it with students again. The repetition and rhythm make it fun to read aloud.  The Ghosts Go Haunting is thisclose to the tune in the Ants Go Marching. The beauty here is you don't have to sing the whole book - I modified based on grade but we all heard the book this week. It was fun flapping, clomping, and WOEing through the library.

Halloween is coming - I read First Halloween with kindergartners and we discussed similarities and differences. We also read The Teeny Tiny Ghost and talked about how Halloween can be scary and fun.  We also watched the first minute or two of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and talked about pumpkin carving.

CYBILS - wowza - Seems like I'm pretty much reading my backside off. Because I'm sitting on it. Reading. Constantly.

I have to go read now.  If you want some reading ideas - check out TeachMentorTexts and don't forget to link your reads to her blog! Happy reading.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Writing Great Books for Young Adults - Excerpt and Giveaway

Just in time for NaNoWriMo! 
Are you looking for some inspiration to write your own novel? 

Check out the newly updated
Writing Great Books for Young Adults
Brooks, Regina. Sourcebooks. $14.99. 
ISBN: 9781402293528

from the publisher:

With an 87 percent increase in the number of young adult titles published in the last two years, the young adult market is one of the healthiest segments in the industry. Despite this fact, surprisingly little has been written to help authors hone their craft and truly connect with the young adult audience.

Writing Great Books for Young Adults gives writers all the advice they need to tap into this incredible and innovative market. Literary agent Regina L. Brooks shows writers how listening to young adults will help them create characters their audience can identify with.

Topics covered include meeting your protagonistengaging your readers,, trying on points of view, and many more.


Open to US Residents only. 13 years of age and older. 1 entry per person/email.
Closes October 24, 2014 , 11:59 pm. EST. Winner announced October 26th.
UPDATE: Congratulations, Stephanie.  Expect your book directly from the publisher.

About the Author 
Regina L. Brooks is the founder of Serendipity Literary Agency and has been developing award-winning authors and books for over a decade. She has been highlighted in several national and international magazines and periodicals, including Poets and WritersEssenceWriter’s Digest, and Sister2Sister,Forbes, Media Bistro, Ebony, and Jet. She lives in New York City.

Connect With the Author
Twitter: @serendipitylit


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