Historical tales with Chinese roots – read with your ears this week! (audiobooks)

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them on your device as long as you keep them on Sora shelf – more info here.

CD cover of audiobook Descendant of the Crane, by Joan He. Read by Nancy Wu, published by Dreamscape | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Descendant of the Crane (download free – May 13-19, 2021)
by Joan He | Read by Nancy Wu
Published by Dreamscape

Suddenly ascending to the throne when her father dies, Princess Hesina’s search for his murderer puts the young woman in contact with her soon-to-be subjects outside the palace walls.

Is the soothsayer’s forbidden magic telling the truth? Will the secrets of investigator Akira endanger them both?

CD cover of audiobook Monkey, by Wu Ch'eng-en, translated by Arthur Waley. Read by Kenneth Williams | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Monkey (download free May 13-19, 2021)
by Wu Ch’êng-ên, Arthur Waley [Trans.] | Read by Kenneth Williams
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

This 16th century Chinese classic includes demons, gods, and spirits who stand in the way of a priest traveling West to acquire sacred Buddhist texts for his emperor.

Su Wukong, the Monkey King himself, accompanies the priest on his long journey in this abridged version translated into English in 1942 and recently recorded.

What tales reflecting China are your favorites?
**kmm

YOU WERE MADE FOR ME…the perfect guy, created by me! by Jenna Guillaume (YA book review)

book cover of You Were Made for Me, by Jenna Guillaume. Published in USA by Peachtree Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Writing and hoping,
sketching and sculpting –
make your own dream come true…

“The day I created a boy started like any other” (p. 1) with Katie’s sketches and stories, dreaming of her perfect first kiss, swooning over Declan at school, and constant commentary by BFF Libby. Who knew that their art + science creative project last night would bring handsome, adorable Guy into their lives today?

How?! No time for questions when she awakens to the perfect teen boy in her bedroom! Theo from next door comes to the rescue, and they discover that he’s real, he has no belly button (she forgot to sculpt it), and he loves 16-year-old Katie more than anything!

Katie helped Theo as they lost his mum to cancer, and now he lets Guy share his added-on bedroom as they all try to figure out what’s next… a guy with no last name or ID can’t go to school with them, right?

Aside from Guy being utterly delighted by Katie and sunset and the beach and every new food he tries (which means everything), the rest of her life is the same – Mikayla and the mean girls are still hateful to her and Libby, she’s still nervous about painting the big mural at school, and Declan is still cute – what??

How can she balance her part-time job and Guy and school?
Why is Theo starting to act weird around her?
Will her first kiss be perfect?

A story in two voices, as Libby interrupts often to refocus Katie’s narrative of how Guy was created and learned to live in their Australian neighborhood below parental radar (mostly).

What attributes would you give to the perfect person for you?
**kmm

Book Info: You Were Made For Me / Jenna Guillaume. Peachtree Publishing, 2021. (author link) (publisher link) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Feathers, wizard, corn fritters – HOW TO SAVE A QUEENDOM gets complicated! by Jessica Lawson (MG book review)

book cover of How to Save a Queendom, by Jessica Lawson. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mistreated at the inn, 12 year old Stub has years of apprenticeship ahead, until she finds a wizard in her apron pocket – tiny, unhappy, and magically bound to stay near her!

A plot to disrupt 100 years of peace? A journey across the entire queendom to the capital city? Only a week to get there!?

If the orphan girl can just get the maps hidden by Beaman’s mother, she and pet chicken Peck can escape the constant bullying…

If Beaman can brave the trip, he could cook his specialties for young Queen Sonora herself…

If wizard Orlan can guide them through perils while his magic is diminished, maybe they can stay alive long enough to save Sonora and the queendom!

Magical beasts, treacherous terrain, running low on spices – life in their coastal town hasn’t prepared Stub or Beaman for travel’s hazards, but they must get to Maradon Cross in time.

Can they stop the evil regent from shattering the Peace?
Will they get to meet Queen Sonora on her 13th birthday?
Is Orlan telling them everything about this mission?

Quick thinking, spells and transformations, a century of secrets – find out How to Save a Queendom at your local library or independent bookstore today!

How have your best friends helped you through difficult times?
**kmm

Book Info: How to Save a Queendom/ Jessica Lawson. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Consequences of injustice – audiobooks to ponder

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your phone or tablet, using the free Sora app to listen.

CD cover of They Went Left, by Monica Hesse, read by Caitlin Davies. Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They Went Left (download on Sora free 6-12 May 2021)
by Monica Hesse | Read by Caitlin Davies
Published by Hachette Audio

Liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in 1945, Zofia is desperate to find her younger brother Abek, the only other family member who wasn’t sent the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

But how will the 18 year old locate him among the sea of refugees in the displaced persons’ camps of Germany and Poland?

CD cover of Trell, by Dick Lehr, read by Bahni Turpin, published by Brilliance Audio Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Trell (download on Sora free 6-12 May 2021)
by Dick Lehr | Read by Bahni Turpin
Published by Brilliance Audio/Candlewick

Trell is certain that her father was wrongfully convicted of murder and convinces a disillusioned Boston investigative reporter to go back to witnesses and uncover the truth.

Can the teen and reporter track down the real killer?

What other stories of confronting injustice would you recommend?
**kmm

Can she stay safe from THE MEMORY THIEF? by Jody Lynn Anderson (MG book review)

book cover of The Memory Thief by Jodi Lynn Anderson, published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Lurking spirits,
Mom mourning loss,
stories hide secrets!

When 12 year old Rosie decides it’s time to burn the stories she’s written to fill the empty spaces in herself, the old seaside house that she shares with so-forgetful Mom is filled with ghosts!

Her best friend Germ (really Gemma) starts liking makeup and boys, but Rosie has other things to worry about, like bringing her widowed mom back to the present long enough to sign progress reports so no one suspects her lack of attention to the sixth grader and her obsession with watching the sea.

The ghosts she can now see lead Rosie to an ancient book, The Witch Hunter’s Guide, that reveals much about her family history and perhaps why Mom can’t remember Rosie from day to day.

Somehow Germ also begins to see the ghosts (when not practicing with mean girl Bibi for the talent show!) who lead them to hidden buildings and warn that the 13 witches controlling the world know Rosie is coming into her powers!

What’s keeping the ghosts tethered to her New England town?
Can Rosie and Germ escape the Memory Thief’s cursing touch?
Could they rescue “him floating out there” that Mom is longing for?

First in a new trilogy by the author of My Diary From the Edge of the World (recommended here).

What family story do you want more details about?
**kmm

Book Info: The Memory Thief (Thirteen Witches, book 1) / Jodi Lynn Anderson. Aladdin, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Celebratory lines – poems about NINE! a Book of Nonet Poems, by Irene Latham (picture book review)

book cover of Nine: a Book of Nonet Poems, by Irene Latham. illustrated by Amy Huntington. Published by Charlesbridge | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Rhymes or none,
poems are fun –
you know haiku,
so try something new!

Expressing yourself in verse or song can make everyday life more interesting. That’s what a birthday girl and her little brother and their armadillo pal do, using the nonet form.

What does that look like? She answers readers in the very first poem, “Nonet”:

Grand
poem
with nine lines –
one syllable
first line builds toward
nine-syllable ninth line
(or the reverse). A staircase
for poets and readers alike!
(Any subject, rhyming optional.)
-page 1

Did you count the syllables as you read down the nonet-staircase? Yep – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Some of the girl’s nonets start with the nine-syllable line and get shorter line by line, like “Nine-Banded Armadillo” and “Dressed to the Nines” for her big birthday bash!

Flip to the back of the book to learn more about all the nines in the poems and even the dimensions of the book itself.

Celebrate Children’s Book Week by writing your own nonet!

What’s your favorite nine fact?
**kmm

Book Info: Nine: a Book of Nonet Poems / Irene Latham; art by Amy Huntington. Charlesbridge, 2020. (author site) (artist site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Whoosh! 11 years of BooksYALove, a decade of April A2Z!

text reads: reflection- Blogging from A to Z April (2021) Challenge http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Like that snowball rolling downhill toward a cartoon character, growing larger and faster as it goes, time seems to pass more swiftly as the calendar pages flip over.

Eleven years ago today, I stepped out into the then-new world of blogging, thanks to the encouragement of Michelle Rafter’s Blogathon in the early 2010s and the repository of book recommendations that I had written for Barb Langridge’s awesome kids’ book discovery site www.abookandahug.com (still going strong – be sure to take the Reader Personality Type quiz here!).

Ten years ago today, I looked back at a whole month of posts (every day but Sunday) pegged alphabetically from A to Z – wow, I really could create content on a daily basis… for at least one month of the year during the April AtoZ Challenge!

At the end of March every year since, I’ve pondered whether I could really complete another AtoZ, not missing a single alphabetical day (X is so hard). And for 10 years straight, I’ve decided that I should try, and I have succeeded!

Book bloggers don’t get medals or awards for our work promoting books, authors, and illustrators.

Most of us don’t get any money for our writing, some of us get review copies from publishers (thank you, thank you!), and many of us pay out of pocket to host our sites.

We all spend innumerable hours reading, deciding which books to write about, looking at our growing TBR (to-be-read) piles of books…and the books waiting for a review.

Book reviewers may never know whether our recommendation of a specific book led someone to read it… but one review and one book may be what makes life better for one reader – and that is enough for me as I begin my 12th year of BooksYALove.

Have you read any of the 1000+ books that I’ve recommended?
**kmm

Z for ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE, so deal with it! by Sabina Khan (YA book review)

book cover of Zara Hossain is Here, by Sabina Khan, Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The only home she’s ever known,
her city, her beach, her neighborhood,
now a threat, hostility around each corner…

Zara’s college plans are in limbo as the high school senior impatiently waits for her family’s green card status to be approved in Corpus Christi where her father’s medical practice has thrived for years.

The devout Muslims here say her Pakistani family is too secular, while white bullies at school are ratcheting up their harassment of brown people.

Meeting Chloe is like a beautiful seabreeze, and the two young women begin a relationship, despite the disapproval of Chloe’s conservative religious parents.

When her gentle father angrily reacts to a hate crime against their family, Zara’s life shatters into disarray.

What’s their green card application status now?
Why are immigrants hated here so much?
What’s next?

Living next door to the Garcias since she and best friend Nick were toddlers, Zara knows only Texas as home, but maybe this land of opportunity doesn’t want to know her.

New this month and a fitting AtoZ Challenge finale on the 25th anniversary of Dia de los ninos/Children’s Book Day which celebrates connecting the deep, wide, and wonderful range of books to all kids of all backgrounds.

When to stand firm and when to bend?
**kmm

Book Info: Zara Hossain Is Here / Sabina Khan. Scholastic Press, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Y is for Yay, it’s finally time for AudioSYNC Summer!

Yes, yes, yes! AudioSYNC summer starts today! Every Thursday, we’ll have a one-week opportunity to download – free – 2 complete professionally-produced audiobooks with a theme in common.

With the free Sora app on your device, you’ll be able to “read with your ears” for as long as you keep the downloaded audiobooks! The FAQs here tell you how to set up Sora and connect it to the AudioSYNC library.

Sign up here for reminders of each week’s new selections or just stay tuned to BooksYALove.com where I’ll introduce each book pair with links every Thursday through July 29.

CD cover of Come On In, anthology edited by Ali Alsaid. Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Come On In: 15 stories about immigration and finding home (free download on Sora 4/29-5/5/2021)

by Adi Alsaid [Ed.] | Read by Amielynn Abellera, Jonathan Todd Ross, Katherine Littrell, Leila Buck, Maria Liatis, Sneha Mathan

Yes! I recommended this collection of short stories writing by YA authors who are immigrants or children of immigrants during April 2021 here on BooksYALove – don’t miss the audio version with narrations in many voices and accents.

CD cover of Illegal: Disappeared, book 2, by Francisco X. Stork. Published by Scholastic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Illegal: Disappeared, book 2 (free download on Sora 4/29-5/5/2021)

by Francisco X. Stork | Read by Roxana Ortega, Christian Barillas

The siblings seeking to escape Mexico in Disappeared are now across the US border – Sara waits in a detention facility to hear if her application for asylum has been approved while Emiliano is still on the run from both US authorities and the cartel members trying to stop him from exposing their trafficking activities.

This week’s AudioSYNC theme is “After Crossing the Border” – what happens next?
**kmm

X is excitement & mystery of THE INKBERG ENIGMA, by Jonathan King (Graphic novel review)

book cover of The Inkberg Enigma, by Jonathan King. Published by Gecko Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Strange activity in the bay,
the Castle looms above town,
so many secrets and so much danger!

In a new town for dad’s museum job, Miro satisfies his old book habit by selling old diving gear and things that he finds in the attic.

Glimpsing a deep-sea fisherman wrapped by a giant tentacle puts Miro and schoolmate Zia at odds with the Works fish-processing plant manager who threatens to tell Miss Danforth, owner of their town… and employer of their parents.

Digging into the town’s history reveals a tragic last-century Antarctic expedition, eerie creatures discovered on that voyage, and enduring links that may endanger their New Zealand coastal town even now!

What really happens inside the Works?
Will Zia’s photos expose dire secrets?
Would reclusive Miss Danforth help the teens?

A pitch-black iceberg and a perilous journey – the expedition journal is a book of secrets within this graphic novel of mystery and discovery!

What local historical fact has taken you by surprise?
**kmm

Book info: The Inkberg Enigma / Jonathan King. Gecko Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.