Thursday, December 17, 2009

Are You My Newbery - Update - 12/17/09

Whew! I've been doing a lot of reading but not a lot of blogging, I know. We have a two week break coming up and I promise to blog more often then. I know many people are taking a break from blogging at this time so this is a good time for me to step up!!

Since my last Are You My Newbery post, I've read:
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
Forest Born by Shannon Hale
Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech
Extra Credit by Andrew Clements
Wild Things by Clay Carmichael
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LeFleur
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff
Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Also Known As Harper by Ann Haywood Leal
The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O'Connor

Skype Interviews
Fran Cannon Slayton of When The Whistle Blows - very informative. I have some audio that I'm trying to include but will just post the interview if people are interested. This was with the teachers in my Mock Newbery club at the middle school.

Jacqueline Kelly of Evolution of Calpurnia Tate - intriguing. This was with the St. Joseph Public Library Mock Newbery club which has about 30 students from a variety of schools.

My Mock Newbery 2010 guesses
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
When The Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
SLOB by Ellen Potter
Neil Armstrong is My Uncle by Nan Marino
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost
Wild Things by Clay Carmichael
Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O'Connor

If you want to see reviews of any of these, please leave me a comment! I will get it up as soon as possible!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Review - Crossing Stones by Helen Frost

Crossing Stones
Helen Frost
Francis Foster Books/FSG
184 pgs. (author notes, library book)

Muriel, Ollie and Emma relay the events leading up to WWI when two of their number decide to join the army. We also get a glimpse into the women's civil rights movement as it relates to Muriel's family.

This verse novel alternates between the voices of Muriel, whose words are shaped like a river, and Emma/Ollie, whose words are shaped like crossing stones. The "stones" also have a special rhyme scheme that the author explains in her notes. Each chapter is made up of several poems and covers a month from April 1917 to January 1918.

My Thoughts
My first thoughts on picking up this book were "not another war novel". This year's Newbery hopefuls are replete with them. Helen Frost writes about WWI but I've read about WWII, 9/11, and the War in Kosovo.

Crossing Stones alternates voices but in a way that's not disruptive to the book's overall tone. I found myself understanding both Muriel and Ollie's viewpoint because their characters are well drawn. You understand why they make the choices they do. Muriel is "plucky" but not overbearing and she's also thoughtful.

Mother: I have no intention of becoming the Mrs. Norman of your imaginary future. Who I am remains to be seen - and I alone intend to see it. (p. 15)

Ollie's young but tenderhearted.

To tell the truth, I don't care as much about their lofty goals as I do about
seeing my family again- there's a man on a bike, pedaling into the morning, bringing bread home to his family, I bet. (p. 60)

Through their eyes we also get a sense of the other characters.

The plot had just enough history to make it interesting but not boring. Each poem was like it's own little story within a story. The writing was so vivid and the story moved quickly. Frost didn't just focus on the homefront, what happened to the people left behind, but also gave us a little taste of the warfront as well as the suffragist's movement.

I really enjoyed Crossing Stones and can't wait to find Diamond Willow. I give it 4 copies. Bonus: Helen Frost lives in Fort Wayne, IN! Maybe we can do an author visit - if only I could find a curriculum use for this one...

Other Newbery hopefuls on War
Born to Fly by Michael Ferrari - rvw
Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry
Tropical Secrets by Margarita Engle - rvw

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Social Justice Challenge

2010 Social Justice Reading Challenge
"Reading and literacy can not only make us better individuals but it can also motivate us to effect greater changes around us."

The Social Justice Challenge leaders

Have you seen this? This is one challenge I think I can do. When I have more time, I can do more. Less time, do less. The challenge runs for a year and ties into so many things I want to do: Live Your Five, Diversity Challenge, Three Cups of Tea, etc. All the things I want to do but don't know where to start. They've taken that excuse away - just in time.

We've been looking for something to get our kids involved with at school too so I'm hoping this will prove to be the "thing" we are looking for. Again, not much trouble on our parts but the gain...

This is a challenge I must do. So I'm in.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Are You My Newbery?

Some of you know that I've been working with two book clubs as we try to determine what the ALA committee will pick as the January 2010 Newbery Award winner. Last year I not only hadn't read The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, I hadn't heard of it! This year, I'm determined not to have that happen. So we've scoured review lists looking for books that have received starred reviews or have received a lot of buzz. They can also be books that were put out by established authors. We ahave to be sure the author meets the ALA residency requirements and the books haven't been published somewhere before. The books also have to be published in 2009.

This experience has exposed me to a lot of good reads that I may have missed and I'm on the hunt until The Newbery's are announced on January 18, 2010. That's only 47 days! I've read 32 books so far and have about 60 more I want to read.

So, for the next 47 days I will be hijacking The Brain Lair. I'll make frequent but short posts to keep you updated on how my search is going.

Here's the list as it stands today - KBNewlist - if you think there are titles I'm missing let me know. If you want to find your own Newbery let me know and I'll link to your post.

Happy Reading!

Other Newbery Finders
Goodreads Mock Newbery 2010 group (thx for pic!)
Eva Perry Mock Newbery
ACPL Mock Newbery (i'm registered to attend their meeting which is right after my last Teacher Mock Newbery club meeting)
SJCPL Mock Newbery (I get to help out with this one. We are skyping with Jacqueline Kelly on December 10th!)

My Mock Newbery 2010 Guesses
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
When The Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
SLOB by Ellen Potter
Neil Armstrong is My Uncle by Nan Marino
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Review - Joey Fly, Private Eye by Aaron Reynolds

JoeyFlyJoey Fly, Private Eye: Creepy Crawly Crime
Aaron Reynolds
Henry Holt and Company
96 p. (author supplied)

Joey Fly attempts to solve the mystery of the missing pencil box with the help of his un-helpful sidekick, Sammy Stingtail.

Neil Numberman illustrates this graphic novel in an eye-catching way: monochromatic coloring. This gives the book an old-fashioned feel - fitting in with the story of an old time private eye, very film noir-ish. I loved it. At the end of the book there's a list of 16 things readers can find throughout the book. A very nice touch!

My Thoughts
Joey Fly is funny in a Sam Spade-ish way: snappy one-liners and lots of wordplay. The story moves quickly. Joey hires an assistant, gets a client and goes about teaching Sammy all the rules of being a detective. Along the way, we are able to fit the pieces together, just as Joey and Sammy are solving the crime. I thought there was just enough bug humor to be funny but not tiring.

Since the characters are bugs, you can't really get to know them. But Numberman's drawings were able to portray a little sense of each bug. Joey was stern but soft-hearted and you could see that in the shape of his eyes. Sammy's eyes made him look like he would get in trouble as soon as you turned your back on him and he does. Each of the women in the story, Delilah, Gloria, and Flittany, had eyes and body shapes that mimicked their character traits. I thought Numberman did a good job of matching the drawings to the story.

I would give Joey Fly 3 copies. It would work with some of my younger students or for students to read when they visit the elementary school. We use Don't Feed the Bully for our 6th grade anti-bullying program and I think this book would be a good follow-up novel for some of the students because they use a similar humor style. There's also a teacher's guide!

About the Author and Illustrator
areynoldsAaron Reynolds is a human, not a bug, but he often writes about bugs. He is the author of Chicks and Salsa, Superhero School, Buffalo Wings, and, of course, the Joey Fly, Private Eye graphic novels. Visit him at his website at
Neil Numberman is a termite currently residing in New York City. Joey Fly, Private Eye is his first graphic novel, but he is also the author/illustrator of the picture book Do NOT Build a Frankenstein. Stop by his website at

Joey Fly Book Trailer

Fun with Joey and Sammy
Joey and Sammy are on Twitter! Click the pictures to follow them!

Would you like to know how a Graphic Novel is made?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Review - Soccer Sabotage by Liam O'Donnell

Soccer Sabotage
Liam O'Donnell
Orca Book Publishers
unpaged, Graphic Novel (LibraryThing)

Devin is the water boy for an all-girls soccer team. With the assistance of Stewart, the coach's son, he attempts to solve the mystery of who pushed Coach down the stairs and who is now trying to ruin their team's chances at the championship.

This graphic novel has great coloring. The illustrations are vivid with fluid lines that give the sense that the players are actually in action. The book also has soccer tips interspersed with the story. To distinguish the tips from the story they are enclosed in rectangular boxes that have a picture of the coach's head.

My Thoughts
Soccer Sabotage is great for soccer fans who want a little story with tips. I found the story was predictable and some parts left me with questions. How did the soccer team, who are all under the age of 18, get to and from the hospital and other places without their coach? Who took care of Stewart while his dad was in the hospital? Why did the other girls suddenly start following Nadia when they disliked her so much?

Although I enjoyed the artwork, I felt the story was lacking. It might work for students who don't really enjoy reading all that much. This would be a good way to keep them entertained. I also think that the tips and information were well integrated into the book. They weren't at all intrusive. Using the differently shaped boxes would help readers who need text support to follow along.

I'll get 2 copies to see if I can find an audience. If it works out, I'll invest in the next book in the series and see what else O'Donnell produces.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Sunday Salon - Challenges Can Be Challenging and More to Read- November 22, 2009

extra creditChallenges
I have one month left to read but I also have my Mock Newbery books to read so my plan is to finish the DystopYA challenge and the 50 Books challenge since each of them only require me to read one book. I will rejoin the Diversity Challenge in 2010 and that's it. I plan on doing some sort of Mock Printz 2011 club so I'm thinking of focusing on that beginning in February and possibly doing some Steampunk... and of course I will try to review more in 2010.

Recently, over at twitter, I asked What's the best book you've read so far this year? I'm looking for awe and beauty and joy and sorrow and thought-provokingness. Here are the answers - I'll be adding the ones I haven't read to my Christmas break reading list!

stephxsu @thebrainlair Wow, tough question. One of my favorites was ASH by Malinda Lo. Also loved FIRE by Kristin Cashore.

Miss_Tammy @thebrainlair I adored LIPS TOUCH THREE TIMES by Laini Taylor. As soon as I was done I wanted to start over again.

thebookcellarx @thebrainlair Definitely Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

cindypon @thebrainlair i loved eyes like stars by @lisamantchev flash burnout by @lkmadigan king of attolia by megan whalen turner

vasilly @thebrainlair August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. It's like reading a soap opera but way better.

@thebrainlair Best book of the year for me: A tie between The Book Thief, Someone Knows my Name, Chains!

MaryAnnScheuer @thebrainlair have you tried Lips Touch by Laini Taylor? I am so gripped (with wonderment and fascination) by the stories.

@thebrainlair Best book so far this year - Paper Towns by John Green. Loved it. Now making students read it and they're loving it too.

@thebrainlair How to Say Goodbye in Robot is one of my favs of the year.

@thebrainlair Couple more The Hate List/Brown, Ash/Lo, Twenty Boy Summer/Ockler, Beautiful Place to Die/Nunn

Have you read any of these? Do you have any other suggestions? I've read the ones in bold so you see I have some reading to do and I cannot wait. Makes me look forward to the holidays even more!

Newbery Update (as of 11/22/09)
We are counting down the days until the Newbery award is announced in January. I'm hoping they tweet the announcements again this year.

Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman
Born to Fly by Michael Ferrari
Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
The Rock and The River by Kekla Magoon
Mother Poems by Hope Anita Smith
Heart of A Shepherd by Rosanne Parry
Tropical Secrets by Margarita Engle

I'm going to be reading like crazy for the next two months. Luckily, I have some time over the holidays. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blog Tour - Thirsty by Tracey Bateman

ThirstyThirsty: A Novel
Tracey Bateman
Waterbrook/Random House
376 p. (PB, discussion questions)

Nina emerges from rehab and decides she needs to start over. She heads home to Missouri dragging her daughter Meg behind her. She meets Markus, her sister's gorgeous neighbor, re-unites with her parents, and finds out all she believes is a lie. Of course.

My Thoughts
Thirsty is about more than being drunk. It's about self-control, overcoming demons, and finding there may be a higher power after all.

Tracey Bateman's novel builds slowly but not boringly. Each chapter has an italized little forward that sounds like we're reading Nina's diary. It's a nice way to get the character's thoughts without clogging up the story. I thought the intros gave an insight into Nina's behavior and helped us see how she got to where she was. Having Markus tell her the legend of the vampire was, while not new, a good way to get the reader info about him. I wanted to know more about Meg, Nina's daughter. We get a glimpse into her personality but only in relation to Nina. She was starting to step out on her own and I would like to see how she battle her own demons.

Bateman doesn't bring God fully into the story until almost the end. Thirsty isn't overly religious. We know Nina is waiting for God to make a move in her life and that foreshadowing gives us a sense of mystery and suspense because something has to happen! The murders in the small town continue; leading closer and closer to home.

The end wrapped up neater and quicker than I liked. Nina made amends and the murder case was solved with a sense of finality.

I thought Thirsty was well-written and solid. The pacing was perfect for the story and Bateman introduced another aspect of vampire lore that makes things more interesting. Although it has some vampire touches Thirsty deals more with Nina and I hope Bateman continues with stories of Meg.

About the Author
TraceyBatemanTracey Bateman is a slightly neurotic mother of four, wife of one, and owner of three dogs, two blue bloods and one mutt (the mutt is the only one who will come to her when called). Lifetime movies, chunky monkey ice cream, and frantic late night Instant message chats with friends, who are only slightly less neurotic, keep her moving forward when deadlines loom and insanity is nipping at the heels of her mind. Being president of American Christian Fiction Writers gives her the chance to give back to a community of writers who have helped shape her career and her writing style.

As a kid, Tracey whiled away the hours with such treasures as Trixie Belden, Bobbsey Twins, The Pam and Penny Books and any other books by Rosamund du Jardin. These are still favorite reads to this day. Favorite authors include Kristin Billerbeck, Francine Rivers, Susan May Warren, Karen Kingsbury, Shelley Bates, and Deborah Bedford.

More reviews
Books, Movies, Chinese Food rvw Thirsty by Tracey Bateman
My Friend Amy's rvw Thirsty by Tracey Bateman
All About {n} rvw of Thirsty by Tracey Bateman
Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My rvw Thirsty by Tracey Bateman

Touched by a Vampire

Touched by a Vampire examines the Twilight Saga by comparing what happens in the book with what the Bible says. Although many parts of the book were simplistic I was able to glean some useful information. Most of the interesting questions were focused on Bella and Edwards relationship which I'd already found unhealthy. It was nice to see how that parlayed into religion.

Do you want to read Thirsty yourself? How about Touched By A Vampire? I'm giving away both of them to one lucky commenter.

Just leave a comment with your email address. Open to US residents only. 1 entry per person. Contest closes
Thursday, December 3, 2009, 11:59 pm.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Review - The Rock and The River by Kekla Magoon

The Rock and The River
Kekla Magoon
283 p. (HC, author notes)

13 year-old Sam is caught between his father, a nonviolent Martin Luther King, Jr. supporter and his brother Stick, and 18 year-old member of the Black Panthers.

Sam relays events that lead up to and follow the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the beating of Stick's friend, Bucky. He tells how these events affected someone who was connected to diametric factions that ultimately really wanted the same things.

My Thoughts
In the beginning, I had a little trouble getting into The Rock and The River. The voice was uneven, wavering between an adolescent and an adult sound. But as I continued reading, I realized that a 13 year-old IS wavering between those worlds. Just like Sam. As Sam learns more about the Civil Rights Movement, the voice starts settling and I "hear" more of him. The pace of the story moves quickly. We are instantly into the action and then pulled back and then back into the action. Sam wants a girlfriend and he wants his dad and his brother to stop fighting. He wants to stop having to choose between them.

Sam's brother Stick's voice was harder to get into. Of course, we only know of him through Sam. We know what Sam knows about Stick. And that's the part of Stick's life that affects him. Stick wants change, he wants his dad to take him seriously, he wants to make his own choices.

"It's the rock and the river, you know? They serve each other, but they're not the same thing." (233)

The Rock and The River was all about choices: how they affect everything - whether you choose to do something or do nothing. Choose to demonstrate, ride the bus, drink from that fountain, go down that particular street, sit at that store's counter, say yes sir or yes ma'am, answer to girl or boy - no matter your age, fight, resist, sing, cry...these are just a few of the choices that had to be made. Some are still being made.

The Rock and The River will grab you. I liked how Magoon showed the nonviolent movement as well as the Black Panther movement without too much romanticizing of either. I thought the emotions were true and the characters, especially Sam, believable. I look forward to sharing this one. 4 copies.

Other Reviews
Fuse 8s rvw of The Rock and The River
Color Online's rvw of The Rock and The River
TheHappyNappyBookseller's rvw of The Rock and The River

Blog Tour - Now and Then by Jacqueline Sheehan

Now and Then
Jacqueline Sheehan
384 pgs. (author info)

Anna's brother, Patrick, gets into a car accident on his way to pick up his errant son, Joseph. Patrick is now on life support so Anna is volunteered to retrieve Joseph from jail. Later, Anna is awakened by some weird sounds which turn out to be Joseph going through her luggage. This leads to an unexpected trip for them both. In Ireland. 164 years in the past...

My Thoughts
Now and Then starts off slowly but soon the voices of the characters take on a life their own and you find yourself transported into the past and lost in the story, just like Joseph and Anna.

The writing is a little formal at first, beautiful, but stilted.

"She did not want to be the dreadful price that the present owners had to endure."

"Time bent and folded like a piece of string looped around a stick."

I think this is done to show how formal Anna has become since her divorce because the language changes as the story progresses. Once Anne and Joseph are transported to Ireland, 164 yrs in the past (interesting #), things start to pick up.

I found the two major characters believable and likable. Joseph, the 16 year-old, crushed by being an outsider at school and pushed away by his single-dad father longs for love and acceptance and is not sure how far he will have to go to find them. Anna, desperately wondering why she is always the one left behind hopes to find herself again and escape from the fog her life has become.

I thoroughly enjoyed Now and Then. Once you're in the story, you're in it till the end. The action is fast, without being rushed, and although parts of story were predictable, you never felt like you had all the answers.

About the Author

Jacqueline Sheehan, Ph.D., is a fiction writer and essayist. She is a New Englander through and through, but spent twenty years living in the western states of Oregon, California, and New Mexico doing a variety of things, including house painting, freelance photography, newspaper writing, roofing, clerking in a health food store, and directing a traveling troupe of high-school puppeteers.

Her first novel, Truth, was published in 2003 by Free Press (Simon & Schuster). Her second novel, Lost & Found, was published in 2007 by Avon (HarperCollins). She has published travel articles (”Winter in Soviet Georgia”), short stories (most recently in the Berkshire Review), and numerous essays and radio pieces. In 2005, she was the editor of the anthology Women Writing in Prison. This anthology is the culmination of eight years of writing workshops sponsored by Voices from Inside, an advocacy group for incarcerated women.

Jacqueline currently offers international writing and yoga retreats and teaches writing at Writers in Progress and Grub Street in Boston. She is working on her next novel that will be published by Avon.

Tour dates
Monday, November 23rd: Stephanie’s Written Word

Monday, November 30th: Jenn’s Bookshelves

Tuesday, December 1st: The Tome Traveller

Jacqueline on the internets
Jacqueline Sheehan
Jacqueline Sheehan's HarperCollins page

Book provided by TLC Book Blog Tours and the publishers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Review - Born to Fly by Michael Ferrari

borntoflyBorn To Fly
Michael Ferrari
Delacorte Press
224 p. (lib)

All of her life, Bird has wanted to fly. Her dad has been very encouraging and teaches her quite a lot about flying. He gets called as a fighter pilot during the war (WWII) and Bird is left to try and fit in with the other town children, who all think she is weird.

My Thoughts
Although Born to Fly is a WWII novel it focuses on another aspect of the war. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Kenji, a displaced Japanese American, joins Bird's school where he is immediately the outcast. The two loners don't get along until they are forced to evade the town bully. They hang out and discover that evil forces are at work in the town. Kenji and his uncle are put on trial and only Bird can save him. But if she saves Kenji she puts her family in danger. What choice does she have?

Michael Ferrari captures the voice of a young girl and makes her sound believable. I thought the story moved quickly and the ending wrapped things up nicely but it wasn't too overdone. 4 copies.

Review - Dream Stealer by Sid Fleischman

dreamstealerDream Stealer
Sid Fleischman
Greenwillow Books
96 pg. (lib)

Susana is having a great dream about her best friend who's moved away when the dream suddenly disappears and she wakes up. She finds out about the dream stealer and she's determined to track him down and get her dream back.

My Thoughts
The Dream Stealer has one of the most un-appealing covers I've seen in a while. I was determined not to judge a book by it's cover and decidedly opened the book. Unfortunately, the cover reflected the story for me, appealing.

The story centers around Susana who, after losing her dream, finds out through family members that someone takes children's nightmares. But she wasn't having a nightmare and she wants her dream back - it's the closest she's been to her friend in weeks. She tricks the dream stealer into revealing himself and taking her back to his castle where she has to fight off giants and turn lightning bugs back into dreams.

Fleischman "tells" the reader this story as if he's sitting across from us. This supposedly pulls us into the story and keeps us waiting to see what will happen to Susana. I was not intrigued but it might be a good one to read aloud.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blog Tour - Limelight by Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson
376 pgs (pub supplied)

Claudette is 82 years old and feeling every day of it. The IRS has taken all she had leaving her destitute and depressed. Claudette has to go home and try to start over and she's wondering if it's worth it or would it just be easier to give up.

My Thoughts
Limelight follows Claudette as she tries to convince herself that life is worth living and that it's not all about the money. Claudette finds herself back in her childhood home in Silverton where you can walk to almost any place in town. Claudette does not want to go back to the place she spent so much time trying to escape. She settles in amid many mishaps including a backed up toilet, a broken furnace, and a car that doesn't like cold weather.

Throughout Limelight, I kept reminding myself of Claudette's age. She continually whined about not having money and/or people to do stuff for her. She spent very little time dwelling on the rift between her and her sister, Violet. All the drama and story happened in the last 100 pages of this book. Suddenly, Claudette was reminded of why she left home and she wanted to talk to her sister about it. Claudette also found some old letters that her deceased husband had written to her mother many years ago. She learned things in the letters that she didn't know in over 40 years of marriage.I thought Limelight was slow and somewhat unrealistic. Or, maybe the slow unwinding of the story represented Claudette's reluctance to leave her old life and embrace her new one. I don't know. Or maybe it was realistic and I just need to expand my schema of "elderly women".

I've read several of Melody Carlson's young adult titles including The Chloe and Caitlin books in the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and I'm a huge fan. So, I came into this with pre-conceived notions and found this highly, different book for an entirely different audience. That could just be it. It just wasn't for me.

About the Author
Melody Carlson has published over ninety books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards, including the Gold Medallion and the RITA Award.

Although Limelight was not my cup of tea you might like it. To find out, leave a comment telling me your favorite Christian fiction title for adults and why you like it.
I'll give away my copy of Limelight to one person.

Giveaway ends Thursday, November 12, 2009, 11:59 pm EST

Also, here's an excerpt!
Excerpt, Chapter 1

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Review - Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba by Margarita Engle

Tropical Secrets
Margarita Engle
Henry Holt Books For Young Readers
198 pgs (Author notes included)

Daniel's parents get enough money together to send him to America to escape the Holocaust. His ship gets turned away from New York and he ends up in Cuba. In Cuba, he meets Paloma and David, two people who help him keep hope alive that one day he will be re-united with his parents.

My Thoughts
Tropical Secrets is a verse novel told in alternating voices. We hear from Daniel, the main character, David, an older refugee, Paloma, a Cuban who tries to help the refugees, and El Gordo, Paloma's father.

Tropical Secrets is historical fiction that takes place over almost three years. We arrive in Cuba with Daniel in June of 1939. He slowly learns to fit in: accepting clothing and food from David and Paloma. David has been in Cuba a long time and sells ice cream while Paloma's father is a crooked official who takes money to let the ships land in Cuba.

The alternating voices were jarring to me. I felt that once I was "into" a character and hearing their voice, the story shifted to someone else and I would have to work my way back into that voice. It was helpful that the speaker's names were listed when they spoke but it was also intrusive because even if the next page was the same speaker, the name was listed again.

The story itself was fascinating. I hadn't realized how many people were turned away from the USA and Canada during the war. Can you imagine if your boat was sent back? Margarita Engle was able to extract some beauty from this tragedy. Here are some lines that resonated with me:

"...there are always the drums of passing footsteps..."

"Joy and truth both have a way of peeking through any dark curtain."

"...the boy lost somewhere between the torment of memory and a few fragile shards of hope."

Overall I found this short tale engaging. It offers another view of the Holocaust which I believe students will want to read. Eighth graders will read Night by Elie Wiesel and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I'll offer this one through book talks. I give it four copies.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mock Newbery 2010

Here's a list of books that I've read so far for two Newbery Clubs. The ones in bold are ones I think have a shot at the Newbery not necessarily ones I like. I'm also adding links to Newbery sites I follow.

Newbery Reads (as of 10/30/09)
Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
The Red Blazer Girls by Michael Biel
Diego Bigger Than Life by Carmen T. Bernier Grand
All The Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French
Emmaline and The Bunny by Katherine Hannigan
Scat by Carl Hiaasen
Pop by Gordon Korman
Crow Call by Lois Lowry
Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies by Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino
Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen
The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by W. Rodman Philbrick
SLOB by Ellen Potter
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
When The Whistle Blows by Fran Cannon Slayton
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone
Perpetual Check by Rich Wallace
Peace, Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

I have many more books to read before announcements in January! Here's a good list of books that have received starred reviews but keep in mind that books must also meet other Newbery criteria and some of the books on the list might not be eligible for the award. New books are also still being released!

Newbery Sites I Follow
ACPL Mock Newbery
Eva Perry Mock Newbery
Heavy Medal: A Mock Newbery Blog (SLJ)
Goodreads Newbery Group
SJCPL Mock Newbery

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Tour - After The Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr

After The Moment
Garret Freymann-Weyr
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
328 pg. (HC provided by TLC Book Tours)

Leigh only wanted to help his stepsister get through her crisis. His life was on a path, one he couldn't see clearly, but at least he was on the map. Maia Moreland brought questions about his next step. Was he headed in the right direction? Could he include Maia in that plan?

My Thoughts
After the Moment starts at the end. Leigh runs into Maia at a party. She looks the same but different; better somehow. He jumps back four years and remembers what brought him to this point.

Leigh is seventeen in most of After the Moment. We learn most of what we know through Millie, his stepsister, and Lillian, his mother. We understand how his father, Clayton, played a part who he is. How he doesn't want to be like Clayton but he's not sure what that means. Leigh's hesitant to make some decisions because he wants the people around him to be happy and he understands he plays a role in that. We get a clear picture of Leigh and can feel his joys and his confusions.

Although I could connect with Maia, it was a tenuous connection based on the very small fragments of her behavior I understood. Sometimes her actions didn't make sense. I believe Freymann-Weyr wrote her that way on purpose. Maia Moreland didn't really know herself. She was putting her life back together, working with the pieces she had and connecting those to the pieces she was currently fashioning. When Leigh talks about his collage, it reminds me of Maia's life.

After the Moment moves slowly and deliberately. We start at the end, flashback to the all important year, and then return to the present to wrap things up. Throughout the story we are treated to Leigh's thoughts on the war. I think these glimpses of Leigh trying to understand what's happening over there are supposed to mirror what's happening with him and Maia but I'm not sure. I don't see why else they would be included because I think this story could be told without this angle.

This little books packs quite a few writing gems. I stopped noting them after a while but here are some I enjoyed:

"The kind of mess that can only be created by lawyers, parents, and threatened charges of criminal negligence."

"...Maia Moreland was the object of his sister's crush--the kind a twelve-year old girl develops on the girl she wants to become." (love this!)

"...he built his universe on Maia's smile..."

I enjoyed After the Moment. Although it's not a book that you gulp down it is a fairly quick read. I thought most of the characters were well-written and the uncertainty of love described beautifully. We have another of Freymann-Weyr's books in our library and I'll be sure to read it, too.

About the Author
Garret Freymann-Weyr grew up in NYC and often sets her books there. She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received an MFA in film from New York University. She has written four books for young adults including My Heartbeat which won the Printz Honor for excellence in literature for young adults. She currently lives outside Washington, DC with her husband. She has said that the best way to get ideas is to read a lot because that "gets you thinking in terms of story, character, and image."

Freymann on the Internet
Garret discussing After the Moment

Garret Freymann-Weyr website
Wednesday, October 28th – Luxury Reading
Thursday, October 29th – Pop Culture Junkie
TLC Tour Schedule - scroll down
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review - scroll down
Booklist Starred Review
Surprises About Men: Unexpected Lessons from the Other Side

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read A Thon October 2009 - Update 1

Hours: 2.5
Books Read: 0
Pages: 177

Brooklyn by Coim Toibin - We meet Eilis and her family in part 1. Rose, Eilis' sister, teams up with her mother to get Eilis to America. They live in Ireland and there aren't many jobs or any other type of prospects for Eilis. Without saying as much Rose intimates that she herself has no options and so she wants to help Eilis. In part 2, Eilis goes to Brooklyn where she gets a job in Bartocci's department store. She lives in a boarding house run by Mrs. Kehoe, a widow. There are other single women in the house but Eilis avoids them. The local parish, run by Father Flood, starts having weekly dances and the first time Eilis goes, she's stuck with two of the women from the house who are intent on NOT having a good time. The next time she goes she meets Tony.

Front and Center by Catherine Murdock - the last in the DJ Schwenk trilogy. DJ is back from taking care of her brother Win and looking forward to playing basketball. She's hardly into the season when it's impressed upon her that she needs to start working on her leadership skills and contacting schools even though she's only a junior. Beaner, one of DJ's best friends from football, decides he wants to take their friendship to the next level since there's no more Brian Nelson and DJ agrees. But where is Brian?

Ok, back to babysitting and reading.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Outta Commission

The Brain Lair is experiencing technical difficulties!

My computer has collapsed and I'm waiting to have it fixed and looking to find a new one since my daughter's computer has also died. I've been able to check some emails, twitter, and facebook through my Itouch but nothing extensive.

I'm still reading and hope to find some time to update during my extremely short lunch breaks!

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? - October 19, 2009

Here's where I list what I've read, what I'm reading and what I want to read this week.

Pop by Gordon Korman (Mock Newbery) - different than other Korman books I've read (Son of the Mob 1&2, Born to Rock, On The Run series, Everest series, No More Dead Dogs). The action was low-key and the boy was more hormonal. We knew the problem in the beginning and that seemed to "lessen" the main character in my eyes. In the end, everything wrapped up nice and neat. (pub supplied)

The Lost Conspiracy by Francis Hardinge - would be on our Newbery list but was pubbed in Britain first. The plot moves along steadily until the "big event" then things seemed to drag. It became a little easier to put down and walk away. Then the action picked up a little more as all the "threads" started pulling together. (purchased)

Stitches by David Small - National Book Award - Young People's finalist, which caused much blog hoopla. I like hoopla. Read in one sitting, loved the format, readaloud parts to daughter who, along with me was alternatively grossed out and fascinated. She thinks we should have in our library. I agree. (library)

The 13 Days of Halloween (blog tour) - so fun. My daughter kept singing each verse when I turned the page while I was engrossed in the pictures. Great fun!

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding (Everything Austen Challenge) - kinda ruined by the movie. Really boring and easy to put down. May have to change my list. I only have until January and I've only completed 1 item on my 6 item list!

The Pigman by Paul Zindel (Jr. English Academic Superbowl) - breaking it into parts, defining words, etc to help students understand it for the competition.

The Way Home by George Pelecanos (rvw from Hachette book group) - brilliant cover. Gritty mystery.

I have a blog tour coming up next week and I signed up to participate in the Dewey 24 hr Read-A-thon. Unfortunately, my back-up babysitting card has been called in and I'm not sure how much reading I'll be able to complete! Whine! So my modest plan is:

After the Moment by Garrett Freyman-Weyr (TLC book tour)
Brooklyn by Coim Toibin (50 books for our Time)
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
Candor by Pam Bachorz

Sorry about the lack of formatting and graphics, I'm on a borrowed computer on borrowed time!

Check out J. Kaye's blog to see what others are reading.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Salon - October 11, 2009

Al Capone Shines My Shoes

It was an uneventful reading week for me. My reading mojo has not made it's reappearance yet. I'm hoping to get it back in November when my "required" reading list decreases dramatically!

Ok, they are not actually required since no one has actually assigned these books to me beyond myself that is...

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (library) - better than I expected. Will post a review later. My main thought - could this be considered a Christian Thriller?

Night by Elie Wiesel (school) - been a while since I'd read this. Will be used in some 8th grade English classes. They will be looking at indifference, faith, and night. It was interesting to read it from that perspective.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen (Mock Newbery club) - audio version by Ed Asner. Almost as good as Hoot. The club had this as their second highest pick.

All The Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg (Mock Newbery club) - about a boy from Vietnam who's unsure why he's here in America. Why did his mother send him? Great. Loved it. Not so much the students - no one even mentioned it.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake (BN First Look) - read the first section Fall, for the book club. So far we've met Frances, a radio war correspondent, who's intent on putting a human face on World War II, Iris the Postmistress, and Dr. Fitch who wants to join the war to erase his father's past mistakes, hoping he doesn't become a failure himself. It's amazing but it's one that must be taken slowly.

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (Teacher Mock Newbery) - must finish this by Friday.

Pop by Gordon Korman (Mock Newbery club) - very different than his other books I've read. The main character is new in town and wants to join the high school football team. He's been practicing in the park with a strange guy who seems to know all there is about football. This guy also seems to have some mental issues. I'm a huge fan of Korman's work and I'm interested in adding this to the school library.

On my radar

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
After the Moment by Garret Freyman-Weyr
13 Days of Halloween by Carol Greene
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Mrs. O by Mary Tomer
Ansel Adams In Color edited by Harry Callahan
What Difference Do It Make by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent
The Van Alen Legacy by Melissa De La Cruz
The Secret of Indigo Moon by GP Taylor
Splendor by Anna Godbersen
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (re-reading for an assignment)
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor
Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Fat Cat by Robin Brande
A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

Plus all the books at my bedside and my library books. With only 20 days left I shall have to give up sleep.:) So looking forward to November. I've only accepted two blog tours. I will keep to that so that I can decrease my TBR pile! (she says with all good intentions...)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What My Daughter is Reading - October 8, 2009

School is in session and The Amazing Dancer has been doing her required reading these past two months. She just finished The Giver by Lois Lowry and now she's reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

The students had to pick a classic and a partner, who would also read that classic, and then they will debate whether it should still be considered a classic. The students have discussed what makes a book a classic. The teacher and his student teacher have talked about a couple of books they disagree on. It's an interesting assignment although the person who gets to support the book as a classic seems to have an easier job. I would love to see the teachers actually go through each point and debate it for the class as an example.

What do you think defines a classic novel? Can a novel become UN-classic?

What My Child Is Reading is hosted by Jill at the Well Read Child.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Blog Tour - The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl

The Last Dickens
Matthew Pearl
Random House
p. 383 (HC with notes from the Author)

The Last Dickens unravels three tales - Dickens' last visit to America, James Osgood and Rebecca Sands visit to England, and Frank Dickens' stint in law enforcement. James Osgood sets out to find the other half of Charles Dickens' last novel: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Osgood's company are Mr. Dickens' American publishers and they need to put this book out in order to stay afloat. James Osgood travels to England to trace Dickens' last steps and find out where the rest of the manuscript is hidden before anyone else can get their hands on it.

My Thoughts
Although I found The Last Dickens entertaining I felt like I was attempting to keep too many balls afloat. The story bounces back and forth between three time periods and your mind is constantly trying to make connections between them.

Charles Dickens' visit to America is the strongest story line. Pearl gives enough information about Charles Dickens, coupled with common knowledge, to make a solid character. In the same tale, Tom Branagan's and James Osgood's characters are also fully realized. This was the part of the book I enjoyed the most. The mystery of the stranger who was stalking Dickens and the descriptions of the shows Dickens would put on for theatre patrons were intriguing and fast-moving. I felt the character of "Boston" was also three-dimensional and I could "see" the places Pearl described.

My least favorite part involved Frank Dickens in India. Mason and Turner seemed to be the stereotypical good cop/bad cop. This part seemed no more than a vehicle to describe how opium is sanctioned and travels from India to other parts of the world. It felt forced and I didn't feel it was well-developed.

Osgood's visit to England, accompanied by Rebecca Sands, left him a little less like the character I felt I knew. His travels to the opium den and his willingness to be taken in by Datchery rang false. They didn't sit well with the Osgood we knew from Dickens' travels to America. However, I enjoyed how Pearl wove the tale of Edward Trood into The Mystery of Edwin Drood. That little part of history lifted this part of the book.

The Last Dickens is good mix of history and mystery. The tone of the novel is dark and accurately reflects the time period it portrays. Overall, I liked the book but felt it could have been tighter in some places. That said, I might need to read more Charles Dickens to fully appreciate what Pearl has created.

About the Author

Matthew Pearl is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dante Club, The Poe Shadow, and The Last Dickens. His books have been New York Times bestsellers and international bestsellers translated into more than 30 languages. His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, and He has been heard on shows including NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition Sunday," and his books have been featured on Good Morning America and CBS Sunday Morning.

Matthew Pearl grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is a graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School. He is the editor of the Modern Library editions of Dante’s Inferno (translated by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow) and Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue: The Dupin Tales. He has also taught literature and creative writing at Harvard University and Emerson College, and has been a Visiting Lecturer in law and literature at Harvard Law School. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Pearl Around the Internets
TLC Book Tour Schedule (thru October 22, 2009)
LibraryThing Chat (Oct 5 - Oct 16, 2009)

Want to form your own opinion of the book? TLC Book Tours and the publishers are letting me giveaway a copy of this book! To enter:

Comment letting me know your favorite Dickens title.
Please leave your email address!

US Residents only. Giveaway ends October 21, 2009.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Sunday Salon - October 4, 2009

Wow! Hard to believe it's October already. It's been busy at school/work. Lots of booktalks and conferences and planning sessions. I've been so busy doing talks about books that I haven't had much time to read any books!

The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick (Mock Newbery club)- glad I stuck with this one. As the story progressed I found myself invested in Homer and what was going to happen to him. I don't think it was distinguished enough for Newbery even though I enjoyed it.

Crow Call by Lois Lowry (Mock Newbery club) - good, especially since it's based on Lowry's life, but again, not distinguished enough for a Newbery.

The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl (TLC blog tour) - good but not great. Review on October 6th.

Betsy in Spite of Herself by Maud Lovelace (TLC blog tour) - enjoyed these and will be forwarding to school library.

Scat by Carl Hiaasen (Mock Newbery club) - I'm listening to this one. It's read by Ed Asner. I like it but reminds me of Hoot. The same kind of environmental premise. I'm not sure what I think of the side story of the student's dad being hurt in Iraq. We'll see how it pans out.

Breaking the Bank by Yona McDonough (blog tour) - interesting premise but easy to put down. Review October 5th.

Mrs O: The Face of Fashion by Mary Tomer (rvw) - I requested this one and think it is a great coffee table book. Look for more later in the month.

Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (Teacher Mock Newbery) - will put this aside since our meeting date has been changed.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - was supposed to finish this yesterday and give away but I'm having a hard time with it. I'm distressed by the excessive use of the word "ni*****". I was put off by the phrase "the warm bittersweet smell of clean Negro..." I'm only 1/2 finished so I'm hoping for redemption. Will giveaway when done.

All The Broken Pieces by Ann Burg (Mock Newbery Club) - verse novel. I'm really impressed by this one so far.

Mock Newbery Club
I'm learning about one of the many ways to run a Mock Newbery club by assisting the Children's Librarian at St. Joseph County Public Library, main branch. We've had an initial meeting where Kris explained how the club would work and patrons picked their first reads. We have our first book discussion meeting on Thursday, October 8. I can't wait!

Book Fair
We're running a book fair until October 15th. I'm using Lowry's Books and More to supply the books. They are an independent bookstore in
Three Rivers, MI, about 1 hour north of here. They send a great variety of books at all price points. I'll be hosting a Scholastic Book Fair at the beginning of December as a comparison. Book fairs allow me to raise money for book marks, book club purchases, giveaways, posters, and small decor updates. The money stretches my budget and it's not as restricted as money from the corporation. This year we were able to buy some "trees" and a wireless scanner. It will make inventory so much easier! Do you host book fairs? How has your experience been? What company do you use?

Dewey's Read-a-thon
It's almost here! I'll start at 8am on October 24th. Not sure what I plan on reading yet. I have a fair number of books on my piles that I want to tackle and challenges I want to finish. I do plan on reading more these next few months and spending less time online, this could be my kick-off!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Review - Fire by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore
Dial Books
461 pg (ARC)
Rdg time: 6 1/2 hrs. (almost straight through)
October 2009

Fire is a human monster, born of a human mom and a monster dad. She never met her mom and she's trying to live down her dad's reputation. She lives with Archer and Brocker. Brocker is her substitute dad while Archer is her sometimes boyfriend. Monsters can read minds. They can change the mindsof others. They can also send their thoughts into others head. This ability earns Fire a call to the King's City. King Nash, Prince Brigan, Prince Garan, and Princess Clara want her to come and help them as they prepare for war. They want to use Fire's talents to spy on their enemies.

Although this is a prequel to Graceling, it is really nothing like it! Both books have Leck - here we see him as a child - but that's where the similarities end. Fire and company know nothing of these Gracelings and though Fire and Leck have similar sounding powers - Leck's power is really basic.

Brigan is my favorite male character so far this year - move over Mr. Darcy. The book is so engaging, I had a hard time putting it down, and when I did, I kept thinking about it. The last 100 or so pages found me crying off and on - they were so beautiful and well-written. Fire reads more like a love story than an action book. Yes, it had action and intrigue. Brigan was always going off to some battle front. Fire was always guarded by 6 0r 7 soldiers. Someone may have been killed in every chapter. There was also revenge and double crossing. But ultimately we follow Fire as she learns to love herself, learns to separate love from lust, learns what it means to love someone else.

I have some concerns with some of the subject matter - rape, sleeping around, unwanted pregnancy, morning after herbs, herbs to prevent pregnancy - seemed to have been more of that in this book than Graceling. Seemed a little preachy on Cashore's part - we got her views on marriage in Graceling and Fire seemed to promote her views on sex.

Those concerns give me pause when it comes to rating this book. If it was an adult book - no hesitation - but it's for young adults - 14 and above - at least that's how it's marketed. I'm gonna give it 4 copies with hesitation. I loved this book. I actually kept going back and re-reading parts of it. I had to read something else, at 2 in the morning, bcuz I couldn't get my mind off of it. AARRGGH! BN a school librarian iz hard.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blog Tour - Betsy In Spite of Herself by Maud Hart Lovelace

Heaven to Betsy and Betsy In Spite of Herself
Maud Hart Lovelace
661 pgs.

In Heaven to Betsy, Betsy goes to high school. The summer before freshmen year she visits a family friend and becomes homesick. Luckily, her family calls her home to give her a huge surprise. The surprise makes it more fun to go to a new school with Tacy. Betsy makes many new friends, boys and girls, and finds herself paying more attention to The Crowd and Joe Willard than her school work.

In Betsy in Spite of Herself Betsy enters sophomore year and decides it's time to re-invent herself. All the boys love coming to her house and hanging out but none of them harbor romantic feelings towards Betsy. And Betsy feels the same. She wants to find a beau and she believes becoming "Betsye" will help.

My Thoughts
Betsy's stories are as relevant today as they were in 1945 and 1946! Betsy's longing for a boyfriend, trying to find the most flattering clothes and hairstyles, hanging out with friends - things teenagers still engage in. I was surprised to find that not only did I enjoy the stories, I looked forward to reading more. Maud Hart Lovelace intertwines as much related history as she can while putting each story into a better context.

I thought I was going to be bored with these stories because of the time period and Maud's past being so unrelated to mine. I was pleasantly surprised to find the stories entertaining and so readable. I thought I would skip over book 5 and just jump into book 6 but the story was captivating and I found myself engrossed - what happens with Betsy and Joe? She met him on her way home from her summer trip and then find he's going to her high school and he's also a freshman! Joe being able to live on his own with no parents fascinated me and I found myself trying to find more information about him. I can't wait to see what happens with him because Betsy is courted by two other boys and forgets about Joe.

Betsy tales of romance and self-identity are well worth a read and I look forward to reading the final two volumes - four stories in all.

These stories are based on Maud's childhood and my volume includes a chart showing who the real life "characters" were in the books. There are many pictures of the actual "Crowd" as well as pictures of many places mentioned in the books. Don't look at any of these extras unless you're dying to know what happens!

About the Author

Maud Hart Lovelace is best known for her beloved series of Betsy-Tacy books which were set at the turn of the twentieth century in Mankato, Minnesota (Deep Valley). These captivating stories of small town life, family traditions and enduring friendships have captured the hearts of young and old for over 65 years.

Betsy Upcoming Events
9/30 Aliso Viejo, CA at the Aliso Viejo Library
10/3 Mankato, MN at the Betsy Tacy Houses
10/3 Mesquite, TX Borders
10/23 Bainbridge Island, WA at the Library -island this date is still a bit tentative
11/7 Highland Village, TX Barnes and Noble
11/8 St. Paul, MN at the Red Balloon Bookshop
4/17/10 Dallas, TX, Dallas Heritage Museum

More TLC Tour Stops - scroll down
Thanks to TLC and HarperPerennial for supplying the information and books!


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