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.

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

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 20, 2014

What I Purchased
Shadow of Night (All Souls, 2) by Deborah Harkness
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns
Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Raven Cycle, 2) by Maggie Steiefvater

What I Read
Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus, 5) by Rick Riordan
Infinite Sea (the 5th Wave, 2) by Rick Yancey
Warrior Heir (Heir Chronicles, 1) by Cinda Williams Chima
Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland
Ball by Mary Sullivan
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems
Emily's Blue Period by Cathleen Daly
Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin
Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli
Ling and Ting Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin
Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka
Cats by Seymour Simon
Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Button by Eric Litwin
Pete the Cat and his White Shoes by Eric Litwin
The Story of Owen (Dragon Slayer of Trondheim, 1) by EK Johnston
Dangerous by Shannon Hale
Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
Little Elliot, Big City by
Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, 4) by Rick Riordan

Picture Books - I've always read picture books but usually just for myself or to promote to teachers for writing mentors. Now I'm reading them as possible readalouds for my younger students. By far our favorite of this group was Creepy Carrots. Loved by all from K - 3. Great for leading up to Halloween and can be enjoyed on different level.  We enjoyed the Pete the Cat videos more than the books - basically because we love music. And you must read Ball. That was ingenious! But Fall Leaves, Number One Sam, nor Nuts at Bedtime ever made it to a classroom audience.

Re-Read - Finished my reread of The Heroes of Olympus series and devoured the final book, Blood of Olympus. I think Riordan left just enough open to re-visit in the future but answered enough questions to feel like a satisfying ending. I look forward to his Nordic Adventures.

Book Clubs - Next book club reads are Graceling by Kristin Cashore, which will be a re-read for me, and The Bully Pulpit which is so long and not one I'm looking forward to reading. I may not make that book club meeting!

CYBILS - The nominations are closed. We are furiously reading these titles and I will try to write a word or two about some of the ones I read as I go along. Lots of reading ahead!

Need more reading suggestions? Check out Teach.Mentor.Texts and don't forget to add your link while you are there!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dangerous by Shannon Hale

Hale, Shannon. Dangerous. Bloomsbury Publishing, 4/2014. 416p. $17.99. 9781599901688.

Affilitate Links Amazon
| Indiebound

Genre: Science Fiction (aliens taking over, superheroes created)
Cover Appeal: Nothing sets this apart from any other science fiction title out now. I do like the purple and gray though. I also like the font used for the title.

Maisie Danger Brown is tired of her boring life. She's homeschooled with her best friend, Luther and both her parents work from home.  They never go any where or do anything exciting.  She figures it's because they don't have enough money.  Along comes a sweepstakes to win a trip to astronaut camp. Now Maisie has a chance to live up to her middle name. She becomes part of an elite team who isn't sure what their purpose is but are sure they need to work together.

For the most part  the book is all about the science of space travel and gadget building with moments of romance and intrigue thrown in.  I was happy to see Maisie pull herself from the brink of losing her sense of self over a boy though she was aware that it could happen and she fought it. She was a strong character who thought carefully about how her actions affect others. I enjoyed seeing her thought process. The aliens were bit underwhelming and the rest of the characters, Jacques, Mi-sun, and Ruth, could have used a bit more depth. Luther, even though he was only in the book a short time, was one of my favorite characters.

I recommend this one for 7th Gr and above.

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? September 29, 2014

What I Purchased
Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The Thirteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm
Blessing The Boats by Lucille Clifton
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
El Deafo by CeCe Bell
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (was so mad I never bought this one - even though I read it!)

What I Read
Ninja! by Arree Chung
Ninja Red Riding Hood by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Ninja Boy Goes to School by ND Wilson
The Dot by Peter Reynolds
Iggie's House by Judy Blume
Like No Other by Una LaMarche
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
El Deafo by CeCe Bell
This One Summer by Mariko Tamiki
Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus by Tom Angleberger
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
Winger by Andrew Smith
The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Herbie Jones Sails Into Second Grade by Suzy Kline
Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli
Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides

These pictures lead to nowhere. Just here to help those of us who like a visual reference.

The Great Re-Read.  5th Graders are reading Chasing Vermeer so I went back to read it and found it more boring than I remember. Way too contrived.  The 4th graders are apparently competitive readers and are trying to all get through the Heroes of Olympus before the final book is released October 7th.  I remember racing through these and decided to listen/read to them so I not only have something to discuss - though they are already on House of Hades and I'm still finishing Mark of Athena - but I can refresh my memory too!

Adult Book Clubs. As part of my almost an empty nester phase, I decided to fully participated in both book clubs I'm attached to. One is a group of school teachers and the other a group of librarians. Win-Win. The librarians read Harold Fry and I we had a lot to discuss! The teachers read the Tropper book in anticipation of the movie. It was fun deciding whether the book and movie characters matched.

In Other News. We LOVED Hooray For Hat and I can't thank my twitter friends enough for pointing it out to me. Don't miss Half a King if you like epic middle grades fantasy, it reminded me of Heroes of the Valley. I listened to The Marriage Plot solely because the narrator does the 39 Clues Series and I love his voice.

Looking Ahead. I'll try to hit as many of the CYBILS spec fic nominated books as I can, albeit in an abbreviated manner! Nominations open October 1, 2014! Here's a description of the Young Adult Speculative Fiction Category.  I am also very interested in The Geisel Awards so look for a few of those to pop up.

Head over to Teach Mentor Texts for more Monday reading fun!


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