Tag Archive | non-US author

Authors & illustrators share their childhood works in Our Story Begins, edited by Elissa Brent Weissman (book review)

book cover of Our Story Begins, edited by Elissa Brent Weissnman. Published by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Looking forward to a new year,
looking back over the past –
writers and artists do this, too!

You’ll recognize so many of your favorite authors and illustrators of works for kids and young adults in the “About the Author” section at the publisher’s webpage for this book!

So think about the stories you wrote in earlier years, the comic strips you drew, the plays that you put on for your family, the news reports that you made as a kid.

A new year, new opportunities, what will you begin?
**kmm

Book info: Our Story Begins: Children’s Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids / edited by Elissa Brent Weissman. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [editor site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: “When did you start drawing? When did you know that you wanted to write books?” These frequent questions from young readers are answered by 25 of our favorite authors and illustrators – with examples of their very early works – in this anthology which will inspire a new generation of creators.

A grade-school photo from each author and illustrator begins their chapter which includes reproductions of their childhood stories or drawings in crayon, pencil, pen, or typing.

There’s a photo of author Elissa Brent Weissman as a kid with Gordon Korman at his book signing, then turn to Korman’s chapter to read his fifth-grade speech “How to Handle Your Parents”.

Kwame Alexander’s mom still has his first-ever poem (to her on Mother’s Day) framed in her living room. Thanhha Lai and her family fled Vietnam during her childhood, but she can still recite the story-poem “A Bird in a Cage” that she told her mother over and over.

Illustrators’ talents as kids ranged from polished (Grace Lin) to rudimentary (Jarrett J. Krosoczka – graphic novels), and several authors say that they copied their favorite writers’ styles in early stories – all continued to work at their craft and work to be published.


Ballad of a Broken Nose, by Arne Svingen, translated by Kari Dickson (book review)

book cover of The Ballad of a Broken Nose, by Arne Svingen, translated by Kari Dickson. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His earbuds are filled with opera,
His neighbors are druggies and the jobless,
Just like any middle-school boy, right?

Bart does love his mum and is sure that someday she’ll be able to keep a job so they can move out of their slum apartment… not so sure about keeping away from the bullies at school.

What advice would you give Bart as he searches for his long-gone dad?

**kmm

Book info: The Ballad of a Broken Nose, by Arne Svingen, translated by Kari Dickson / Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Maybe 13-year-old Bart’s opera singing talent comes from the American father he’s never seen.
Who in his Norwegian town knew that John Jones was such a common name in the world?

Maybe his mom will finally keep a job so they can move out of the slum apartments.
Why is it so hard for her to stay sober?

Maybe learning to box will keep the bullies away or impress Ada.
What made her volunteer Bart to sing at the school show?

Maybe he’ll shake his stage fright… anything can happen, right?

Middle school years are different for each person, but this translated novel shows how common some things are.


Running with Cosmos Flowers, after Hiroshima bombing, by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Richard Marshall (book review)

book cover of Running With Cosmos Flowers: The Children of Hiroshima, by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Richard Marshall. Pelican Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.comAfter the A-bomb hits,
surviving winter in Hiroshima is so hard,
then flowers bloom in spring – and perhaps hope also?

Among the packages of desperately needed clothes and food sent to these Japanese schoolchildren when World War II ended were simple gifts of paper, pencils, and crayons from a church in the USA.

So they drew their thank-yous, sent back to the church which displayed and preserved them until today.

Ask for this story of war’s aftermath as seen through children’s eyes and art at your local library or independent bookstore.

The author’s documentary film “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard” includes the restored children’s drawings sent to All Souls’ Church in D.C. as well as archival footage showing life in Hiroshima in the days and months after the bombing.

War…
**kmm

Book info: Running with Cosmos Flowers: the Children of Hiroshima / Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Richard Marshall. Pelican Publishing, 2014.  [book website] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Now her turn to evacuate in summer 1945, Hana-chan arrives at her aunt’s country village shortly before her mother departs with students going home… to Hiroshima.

Struggling to travel from the mountains into the city after the A-bomb strikes, Hana and her aunt are aghast at the devastation, yet try to help where they can.

Back at school in one of the few buildings remaining upright, 7 year old Hana and her young classmates worry about whether radiation sickness is contagious and how they will cope with oncoming winter weather.

Then packages arrive from America – with clothes and food and paper and pencils.

Can small gifts of paper and crayons begin to heal these broken lives?

And their thank-you drawings are sent to the USA, seen by thousands and remembered over the decades.

Based on the author’s experiences as a young girl born in Hiroshima just after World War II ended, hearing survivors’ stories and becoming part of a rebuilding nation. As usual in Japanese fiction, quotation marks aren’t used in the dialogue, but readers will soon be caught up in the story without need of this punctuation.

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean – tales of young women & daring, edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar, Anita Roy (book review)

book cover of Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean, edited by Murray, Dhar & Roy. Margaret K. McElderry Books| recommended on BooksYALove.comNo longer victims,
many choices to be made,
young women leap, tiptoe, and march onward!

A cooking show that time-travels back to the days when food was real.

The procession of elders leads young women to the sea where their true names will be revealed.

As authors and artists in Australia and India worked together on stories (in words and/or images) to show the range of experiences that teen girls are facing and have endured and can overcome, a common thread of ‘connections’ emerged in the finished compilation.

What new connections will you make to move forward?
**kmm

Book info:  Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean: Stories of Imagination and Daring / edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar, and Anita Roy. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017 hardcover, 2018 paperback. [editor site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In response to rapes and attacks on young women, writers and artists from India and Australia created this anthology of stories (several with art) reflecting the possibilities beyond powerlessness.

“Little Red Suit” in future Australia battles to reach Grandmother before the voice snarling unauthorized through her shield-suit radio does.

A young woman travels from India to “Arctic Light” on a ship to protest oil drilling and climate change, despite the loss of her mother, despite the threat of imprisonment.

Kavya wavers between remaining a low-society cleaner who removes magical problems (pixies in the toilet again…) or becoming standardized which would make “The Wednesday Room” with its removed zombies and poker-playing mermaids vanish forever.

Collaborators of different cultures and countries were asked to work together on this theme, resulting in graphic-novel short stories, single-act plays, tales of now and tales of lands imagined.

Far from shore on A Sea of Love, by Wilfrid Lupano & Gregory Panaccione (book review)

book cover of A Sea of Love by Wilfrid Lupano, illustrated by Gregory Panaccione. Published by Lion Forge | recommended on BooksYALove.com Snatched from his fishing waters by a factory-fishing-ship,
Adrift on the wide ocean in such a small boat,
the old man sees land ahead – but which land?

When he doesn’t return that night to their small coastal town, the fisherman’s wife goes searching for him, consulting the marine authorities, a soothsayer, and her own heart.

Join them on this wordless adventure/voyage/love story with scary and hilarious sidetrips!

Are you ready to travel to recover someone or something that you love?
**kmm

Book info: The Sea of Love / Wilfrid Lupano; illustrated by Gregory Panaccione. Lion Forge, 2018.  [artist site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A Breton fisherman’s daily routine goes awry when his small boat is entangled by a mega-trawler, sending him on a trans-oceanic adventure far beyond his familiar French coastal waters in this near-wordless graphic novel.

Paddling the life raft to their village, the first mate tells the fisherman’s distraught wife that the huge ship Goldfish has taken the old man away!

How will he survive stormy seas and angry seagulls?
Can she get word to the captain of Goldfish to help her husband?
If the vision in the pancake is correct, he is safe, but how to get there?

Love and devotion, Brittany’s traditional lacemaking, tropical island and revolution, cans of sardines (oh, how he loathes sardines…) – over 200 pages of mishaps, persistence, and waves for miles make this story a keeper.

Hope the journey is worth it for Charlie and Me: 421 Miles from Home, by Mark Lowery (book review)

US book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books| recommended on BooksYALove.com

US cover

UK book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

UK cover

It was the best vacation their family ever had,
Charlie loved the dolphins, Martin loved the sea…
Just have to go back, recapture the good times!

Most middle grade guys wouldn’t voluntarily take their very individual younger brother on a very long train trip, but Martin isn’t most guys: his extremely different brother has been his annoyance and best friend since Charlie’s premature birth ten years ago.

So if Charlie would be happiest seeing the dolphins again at the seacoast hundreds of miles away, then that’s what Martin will do! No need to involve ever-sad Mum and always-working Dad – not the same since that vacation…

Us or UK cover – which do you prefer for this journey saga?
**kmm

Book info: Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home / Mark Lowery. Yellow Jacket Books (Bonnier), 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Getting back to the Cornwall seaside town where they saw the dolphins will make Charlie so happy that 13-year-old Martin takes all his savings, puts their favorite Christmas cookie tin in his pack, and heads to the train station with his neurologically special little brother – later, they’ll update their parents…

If the Dolphinwatch app is correct, they can get to the coast just in time…
As long as the railway police don’t stop them, like Mum and Dad would have if Martin had told them his plans…

Will the Angry Girl they meet on the third train (or maybe fourth) help them or not?
What if they run out of money on the way or Charlie has another asthma attack?
Can Martin really pull this off for his best-bud, pain-in-the-youknowwhat, dolphin-obsessed little brother?

Each chapter begins with the distance traveled (mostly in the right direction) and one of Martin’s poems as the two brothers traverse England on this singular journey.

What secrets should remain hidden? Read with your ears to find out!

It’s already our final week of free audiobooks from SYNC for summer 2018!

Download by clicking the link after either title (or both!), save to your device, then listen whenever you like.

If you missed any of the free downloads, check for those titles at your local library through WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org/).

Big thanks to the audiobook publishers who allow us to download their professionally produced works during this great program every summer!

CD cover of Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama | Read by Katherine Kellgren Published by Macmillan Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comMonstrous Beauty (download here free 19-25 July 2018)
by Elizabeth Fama
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Published by Macmillan Audio

Perhaps knowing more about the ancestress reputed to be a mermaid will help 17-year-old Hester figure out why love has equaled death for women in their family for generations…

The Lost World (download here free 19-25 July 2018) CD cover of The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Read by Glen McCready Published by Naxos Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Read by Glen McCready
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

Dinosaurs in South America? Of course intrepid British scientists in the early 20th century will journey there, facing many perils along the way! A late-career story by the author famed for his Sherlock Holmes books.

What were your favorite AudioSYNC audiobooks this summer?
**kmm

Time’s running short to Get It Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough (book review)

US book cover of Get It Together Delilah, by Erin Gough, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comCan’t let Dad worry about the cafe,
can’t keep up with her schoolwork,
can’t stop dreaming about flamenco dancer Rosa.

Delilah’s senior year in Sydney is stress overload – mean girls, family cafe difficulties, and falling in love with the girl she can’t have.

What else could happen? Funny you should ask…
**kmm

Book info: Get It Together, Delilah / Erin Gough. Chronicle Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:
As Dad’s short vacation grows longer and longer, 17-year-old Delilah juggles schoolwork, her best friends’ expectations, and unfair business competition so she can keep her family cafe going, but is dreaming of dancing Rosa across the street of their Sydney suburb.

She refuses to ruin Dad’s trip (first since Mum ran off with another man) by telling him of their cafe manager’s arrest; she’ll just run The Flywheel till he’s back in a few weeks…

Being short-handed at the cafe means she’s falling behind on her classwork.

Helping Charlie with his wild plans to make his (older) tutor fall in love with him aren’t helping, either.

Best friend Lauren is completely ignoring Del’s coming-out, but the bullies at their school aren’t.

The underhanded tricks of a new restaurant nearby are cutting into The Flywheel’s business, Del actually talks to beautiful Rosa (and doesn’t faint) – and Dad extends his vacation – uh, oh.

Sister stolen by The Ice Sea Pirates! by Frida Nilsson (book review)

book cover of Ice Sea Pirates, by Frida Nilsson, translated by Peter Graves, illustrated by David Barrow, published by Gecko Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comChildren kidnapped,
forced to work in a diamond mine
on an ice-covered pirate island!

Of course, Siri will do anything to get her little sister back – but how much can a 10 year old do against feared pirates?

Look for this windswept, icy adventure in hardcover or paperback at your local library or independent bookstore – yes, they can get it if not currently in stock!

How far would you go to rescue someone you love?
**kmm

Book info: The Ice Sea Pirates / Frida Nilsson; illustrated by David Barrow; translated by Peter Graves. Gecko Press, 2017. [author info] [artist’s Twitter] [translator info] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In a heartbeat’s time, her little sister Miki is stolen away by the feared Ice Sea Pirates, so 10-year-old Siri races to save her from Captain Whitehead’s deadly diamond mines on a secret island.

How can she follow the pirate ship Snow Raven when adults won’t help?
Why are only children used to mine diamonds?
Can she rescue Miki before the seas freeze over?

This Swedish tale in translation is filled with adventure and daring, as Siri risks her life and safety to bring Miki back to their grieving father, to their snug fishers’ cottage where a tiny piece of mermaid’s tail decorates the wall.

Witches, curses, tragedy dark and deep – to read with your ears!

Dark tales for stormy summer nights in these two free audiobooks from SYNC!

Or listen to these tragic stories in bright sunlit days later by downloading either or both now and saving them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare | Read by Josh Cooke, JD Cullum, Dan Donohue, Jeannie Elias, Chuma Gault, James Marsters, Jon Matthews, Alan Shearman, André Sogliuzzo, Kate Steele, Kristoffer Tabori, Joanne Whalley Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.comMacbeth (download here free from 28 June- 4 July 2018)

by William Shakespeare

Read by Josh Cooke, JD Cullum, Dan Donohue, Jeannie Elias, Chuma Gault, James Marsters, Jon Matthews, Alan Shearman, André Sogliuzzo, Kate Steele, Kristoffer Tabori, Joanne Whalley

Published by L.A. Theatre Works

“The Scottish play” of three witches, murder, and dark tragedy – recorded by full professional cast with live audience.

The Curse of Crow Hollow (download here free from 28 June- 4 July 2018) CD cover of The Curse of Crow Hollow, by Billy Coffey | Read by Gabe Wicks Published by Thomas Nelson | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Billy Coffey
Read by Gabe Wicks
Published by Thomas Nelson

When four teens encounter an old woman who laid a curse when her husband died, a sickness begins striking folks in Crow Hollow – Appalachian witchcraft or worse?

Have you read either of these spooky titles before?
**kmm