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Her luck foretold by Three Pennies? by Melanie Crowder (book review)

book cover of Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comAsk the pennies, get the answer.
Always 3 pennies, always Mom’s pocket book of I Ching,
Mom should be her answer, but where?

So-quiet Marin has bounced around the foster care system so long.
Young owl’s injury has kept him in city, away from big trees for so long.
Earth beneath their city has stayed in tension for so long… too long.

All children need loving homes – too much to ask?
**kmm

Book info: Three Pennies / Melanie Crowder. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Foggy San Francisco – where any moment can bring an earthquake or the right home or a loving family – young Marin searches for her birth mother, and a wounded owl feels the faraway forest calling him…small beings trying to find their right place in the big city.

From foster home to foster home, quiet 11-year-old Marin seeks answers daily from the I Ching book of changes left behind by her mother seven years ago.

Silently gliding in the night sky, a young owl feels his wounded wing become stronger and soon may leave this not-forest place.

How can Dr. Lucy become her parent when Marin knows she must find her birth mother?
Will young owl go to the giant trees of his ancestors or stay here to watch the small girl?
When will the slowly moving rocks under the city finally slide too far?

Many voices – Marin, the owl, lonely Dr. Lucy, social worker Gilda, the earth beneath the city – tell this story of loss, love, and hope.

Mystery wind again for Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee & Ana Juan (book review)

book cover of Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Ana Juan. Published by Atheneum  | recommended on BooksYALove.comA boy who arrived from nowhere,
a parrot who won’t talk or fly,
a shadow lurking in their town.

An unusual tropical wind brought baby Pablo to Isla, securely netted into an inflatable swimming pool and accompanied by Birdy who took care of him.

Ten years later, the wind is predicted again, but Pablo wants only to know where he came from – and why his parents abandoned him to the sea.

Ask for this August 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore to find out how the “winds of change” affect Isla and its residents.

Is knowing the past more important than living in the present?
**kmm

Book info: Pablo and Birdy / Alison McGhee; illustrated by Ana Juan. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [illustrator site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Washed onto the island as a baby, Pablo wonders where he came from, wonders why parrot Birdy never talks, wonders why this flightless friend arrived on the raft with him in the storm ten years ago (well, an inflated kiddie pool, not a real raft).

With storm season coming soon, his adoptive dad Emmanuel and the town of Isla prepare to celebrate Pablo’s tenth birthday (well, his tenth arrival-here-day), the many wondrous birds of the tropical island continue to show off for tourists, and the annual rumors about a Seafaring Parrot who flies thousands of miles begin again.

Why is lavender-feathered Birdy suddenly fluttering about?
Who is stealing food from Pierre’s bakery and other shops?
Will the television reporter stop at Isla to search for the Seafaring Parrot?

As he hears a loud voice repeating conversations in the night and sees a shadow lurking on the streets, Pablo worries about the predicted “winds of change” and the future for constant companion Birdy and their past clouded in mystery.

Peril for refugees on The Journey, by Francesca Sanna (book review)

book cover of The Journey by Francesca Sanna published by Flying Eye Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWar arrives,
we must flee –
Where is safety?

This powerful picture book by an Italian illustrator and author uses black and sunset-hued colors to chronicle the escape of a young girl, her younger brother, and their mother from the war-torn land “by the sea” where their father disappeared.

Ask for The Journey at your local library or independent bookstore.

How do we help others find safety?
**kmm

Book info: The Journey / Francesca Sanna. Flying Eye Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As war takes her father, then makes home dangerous, a girl escapes with her mother and brother by night, seeking safety in a faraway place.

By car, on foot, by bicycle, boat, and train – the small family crosses borders as they travel onward and onward, their luggage growing smaller, their money dwindling, yet their hope growing as they get nearer and nearer their destination.

The girl sees her mother’s strength (but not her nightly hidden tears), tells her brother stories about imagined monsters beneath the rough seas and dreamed-of fairies in their new land who “give us magic spells to end the war” as their journey continues.

From dark forests where angry guards loom large to the bright shore where freedom beckons across the sea, The Journey picture book is artist/author Francesca Sanna’s tribute to all refugees and migrants.

End of our world with The Strange Round Bird? by Eden Unger Bowditch (book review)

book cover of Strange Round Bird by Eden Unger Bowditch published by Bancroft | recommended on BooksYALove.comKidnapping? Already happened.
Puzzles with world-shaking answers? Did some.
Partnered with parents to save humanity? Ohhh…

Hopefully, you’ve met Noah, Wallace, Faye, Jasper, and Lucy as they investigated The Atomic Weight of Secrets (my no-spoiler review here) in early 1900s America and then traveled to Italy with them (and the mysterious men in black) to study The Ravens of Solemano (reviewed here) in the further adventures of the Young Inventors Guild.

Happy book birthday this month to The Strange Round Bird!, the conclusion of this exciting trilogy as our five amazing young people are promised a reunion with their talented parents in Egypt… but the evil Komar Romak has followed them again!

Where do you dream that adventure will take you in this world?
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Book info: The Strange Round Bird, or the Poet, the King, and the Mysterious Men in Black (Young Inventors Guild, book 3) / Eden Unger Bowditch. Bancroft Press, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book Facebook page] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Arriving in Egypt means reuniting with their beloved parents, but evil forces are intent on preventing the Young Inventors Guild from joining them to solve a mystery which will save humanity from destruction!

An ancient manuscript holds clues about the “strange round bird” – is it the same bird from their childhood song?

Even more mysterious men in black are here in the Cairo castle with the five children and their parents – what is their true purpose?

Noah’s mother is kidnapped from the opera stage – can he rescue her without endangering their mission?

Racing through the marketplaces of Cairo, delving into mysterious secrets, seeking answers without waiting to be ‘old enough to help’ – this thrilling conclusion of The Young Inventors Guild series must overcome the ultimate evil to save the world.

U = Unbreakable Code, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (book review) – hot book hunt or literary fire bug?

book cover of Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers  | recommended on BooksYALove.comCoded messages in books,
ships beneath buildings,
an arsonist who must be stopped!

Emily and James are always on the hunt for books hidden by fellow Book Scavenger fans, but when coded clues in particular volumes link up with revenge-fueled fires at listed hidden-book sites, they decide to solve the mystery… but the fire bug is watching them!

Happy book birthday to The Unbreakable Code! You can read this second adventure in the series by itself, but will enjoy it even more if you get the full background in book one, Book Scavenger (my no-spoiler recommendation here).

Be sure to visit the Book Scavenger game website if you want to report a found book or register a book to hide yourself – there are hundreds hidden all over the USA!

What ‘lost treasure’ from a favorite author would you like to find?
**kmm

Book info:The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavengers, book 2) / Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, with illustrations by Sarah Watts. Holt Books for Young Readers, 2017. [Book Scavenger site]  [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.

My book talk: The unbreakable code? As Emily and James seek out hidden books in the Book Scavenger game, the middle schoolers discover a secret message that sets them hunting for information on Gold Rush ships buried beneath San Francisco’s skyscrapers and the code that author Mark Twain said could never be broken.

But someone with a grudge is setting fires at Book Scavenger hiding places and doesn’t want the young teens to discover the next fire site…ever.

What does their teacher (and fellow Book Scavenger) know about the code – and the fires?
Why must they help with the school dance now when they want work on this mystery?
Ciphers, codes, clues – which ones to follow?

As the fires strike closer to what’s important to Emily and James, they must decide who to trust and how far they can go on their own. Second book in the Book Scavenger series, following Book Scavenger.

D is My Diary From the Edge of the World, by Jodi Lynn Anderson

book cover of My Diary From the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson published by Aladdin  | recommended on BooksYALove.comDragons, mermaids, Sasquatches,
the earth is flat,
every school textbook says so.

If only Gracie’s family can get to the edge of the world and cross over to the The Extraordinary World, that mythical globe-shaped Earth where they can find a cure for her little brother’s illness before the Cloud takes him from them forever…

Recently released in paperback, Gracie’s travelogue told through her Diary (chapter 1 here, free) should be at your local library or independent bookstore; if not, ask for it!

When have you seen a Dark Cloud and wondered?
**kmm

Book info: My Diary From the Edge of the World / Jodi Lynn Anderson. Aladdin, 2015 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a Cloud comes for Gracie’s little brother, the 12 year old’s family packs up the RV and goes searching for the mythical ‘Extraordinary World’ to find a cure.

Leaving their Maine hometown, the Lockwoods (plus Oliver, recently orphaned by a Sasquatch attack) visit a witch (Gracie’s grandmother), then head west where they encounter a strange circus, gamble against a genie in Luck Town, and hire a guardian angel on the coast for the perilous voyage to the far south edge of the world.

Can’t they outrun that Dark Cloud?
Will her big sister ever stop complaining about the trip?
How far is it to a miracle?

Tiger Boy, by Mitali Perkins (book review) – personal success or species survival?

book cover of Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins published by CharlesbridgeHonor or money?
A chance for schooling or a chance for wild tigers?

A rich man’s under-the-table reward for a tiger cub could ensure the future for Neel and his family, but the young man must make his own choices on his beloved Sundarban island near the mouth of the Ganges River.

Where is the line between what is best for wildlife and what is easiest for people?
**kmm

Book info: Tiger Boy / Mitali Perkins; illustrated by Jamie Hogan. Clarksbridge Publishing, 2015.  [author site]  [illustrator site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Neel struggles to keep a lost tiger cub on his Bengali island away from a greedy rich man who wants its skin when the reward would pay for scholarship exam tutoring and medicine for Ma.

The headmaster has selected Neel to take the scholarship exam, despite his difficulty with math and no money for the tutor, even though the boy would rather stay in his Sunderban island village.

Rich Mr. Gupta has come to the island, hiring men like Neel’s father to cut down the special sundari mangrove trees. When rangers ask the villagers to find and return the tiger cub that escaped from a nearby island’s game preserve, the greedy man instead offers a reward for its skin.

As time for the exam gets closer and the rare tiger cub has not been found, Neel’s father reluctantly joins Gupta’s men in the search, while Neel and his big sister venture out each night, trying to find the cub before its frantic mother tears through the preserve’s fences and swims over!

Neel’s love for his home island is as strong as the sundari trees that Baba planted long ago to protect their farm from typhoons – now his appreciation for the rangers’ dedication to protecting the endangered wildlife of the Sundarbans is stronger, too.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (book review) – books, puzzles & mysteries in San Francisco

book cover of Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman published by Holt Books for Young ReadersMoving again? Another new school?
Oh, well – more places to hide books…
and to find the most unique book of all!

Emily wishes that she could be as laid-back as her big brother about her family’s constant moves, but at least San Francisco is headquarters of her favorite books-puzzles-searching game. Maybe she’ll find someone to search out hidden books with her, too.

Happy book birthday to Book Scavenger, filled with puzzles, books, bad guys, and the joys of friendship!

I’m happy to see that the author was inspired by Book Crossing, which encourages readers to ‘release books into the wild’ with BookCrossing ID labels so their travels can be logged in (fun and free!).

Read an excerpt here at publisher’s site for free, then go get your own  copy – anyone can play the Book Scavenger game (learn more here)! Let me know if you’ve been lucky enough to find one of the copies hidden in each of the 50 US states already!

What other book are you intent on sharing?
**kmm

Book info: Book Scavenger / Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, with illustrations by Sarah Watts. Holt Books For Young Readers, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: If Emily’s family hadn’t moved to San Francisco, the 12 year old puzzle fan would never have met James or found The Gold-Bug book – or been chased by bad guys who attacked the creator of her favorite book game and will do anything to get that book!

Blame it on her parents’ blog about living in all 50 states – here Emily is in another new school. At least she can solve the Book Scavenger puzzles and find hidden books in beautiful San Francisco.

Luckily, James next door goes to her school and gets interested in Book Scavenger, so they team up with her big brother to find out who attacked the game’s creator Mr. Griswold, following puzzle clues all over town.

What’s different about this copy of The Gold-Bug?
Why do those non-literary thugs want it so badly?
Can they solve the mystery in this book before it’s too late for Mr. Griswold and before Mom and Dad decide to move again?

Filled with puzzles, tributes to authors in the City by the Bay, and lots of action, this adventure-mystery will have readers itching to disguise and hide books like Emily and James do. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

N for Nightbird, by Alice Hoffman (book review) – secrets, community, threat?

book cover of Nightbird by Alice Hoffman published by Wendy Lamb BookxA family curse,
the lure of night and flight,
secrets kept and truths discovered…

Nightbird was published just this week; you can read chapter one here for free.

Hoffman’s magical realism shines here as it does in her Green Angel (my review) and Green Witch (my review), asking questions about love and curses and understanding.

And the wonderful Pink Apple Pie that Twig’s mother bakes? The author kindly provides a recipe here for those of us whose apple trees were not planted by Johnny Appleseed himself!

Should we hide what others might not understand about us?
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Book info: Nightbird / Alice Hoffman. Wendy Lamb Books, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her day-hidden brother soars nightly over their small New England town to taste freedom, thirteen-year-old Twig wishes for friendship, little realizing that the witch’s curse on their family may link both their dreams.

The finest apple pie baker ever, her mother retreated from New York City to the family apple farm when Twig’s father left them, hiding James in the attic where his wings wouldn’t remind the folks of Sidwell about the curse on the Fowler family.

Twig is delighted when teen sisters Julia and Agate from the city move in next door, is devastated when townspeople seriously set to hunting the Sidwell Monster as James flies nightly, is determined to discover the truth about the generations-old curse that gave James his wings.

Will Twig’s mother ever feel safe in her own home town?
Who – or what – else roams the Montgomery Woods besides James?
Can love heal an ancient wrong?

Become a Nightbird  with James, delve into history and happiness with Twig and Julia, and find out why this charming town has a sudden grafitti problem in this magical tale. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

It’s National Readathon Day! Choose your books and get your read on

logo of National Readathon Day 24 Jan 2015Ready!
Set!
Read!

Today is National Readathon Day – your choice of your books, reading bliss from 12noon to 4 pm local time.

Sponsored by the National Book Foundation and Penguin Random House, National Readathon Day is designed as a fundraiser (you can donate to this tax-exempt organization here) and as an opportunity for readers to share what they love as they take #timetoread.

So tweet out your #timetoread titles during the afternoon today (or any time – we all love a good book list, right?), and please support the National Book Foundation as it strives to create, promote, and sustain a lifelong love of reading in America.

**kmm
with my stack of to-be-read books at hand for #timetoread