Tag Archive | personal finance

He escaped? Again!? Good thing we know HOW TO CATCH A POLAR BEAR, by Stacy McNulty (MG book review)

book cover of How To Catch a Polar Bear, by Stacy McNulty. Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This summer will be great!
Until his buddies get jobs,
no time to play baseball…

Wow, Frosty the polar bear escaped from the city zoo! If he gets out again, Ace and Penny will watch for him on their early-morning paper route – if the boss doesn’t fire Penny for being a girl.

Since his best pals are so busy now, 12-year-old Nick helps Uncle Spiro at Sparky’s frozen custard shop. If only competitor Happy Harold would quit bugging Spiro – Milwaukee is big enough for them both…

The zookeeper offers Uncle Spiro the frozen custard concession inside the zoo for the summer! If they can just find someone over age 14 to run the stand with Nick as helper…

Oh, no! Happy’s Custard sets up a cart right outside the zoo entrance, undercutting Sparky’s price and selling a third flavor! If Nick and Mama can just invent a unique flavor and compete with that sneak Happy and bullying classmate Pete who works for him…

Hurray! Their favorite radio personalities are so pleased with Sparky’s “Frosty Freeze” custard that they decide to broadcast from the zoo for all the Fourth of July festivities. Hope those frozen custard-loving monkeys and Frosty behave…

There are plenty of reasons that signs say “Don’t Feed the Animals” all over the zoo in summer 1948! If only people heeded them…

The rollicking follow-up to The Rhino in Right Field, recommended here.

What’s your favorite hot weather treat?
**kmm

Book info: How To Catch a Polar Bear / Stacy McNulty. Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

It’s not fair! Teens incite THE PEACH REBELLION post-WWII, by Wendelin Van Draanen (YA book review)

book cover of The Peach Rebellion, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Over a decade since coming to California during the Dust Bowl days, her tiny brothers dying of sickness and buried under a creekside tree north of here, and folks are still calling Ginny Rose’s family “Okies” after World War II, despite all their hard work.

After her first day working at the peach cannery, a flat bike tire detours the 17 year old to Peggy’s peach farm where she meets banker’s daughter Lisette.

Wow, Papa and Mama tell Ginny Rose to keep half her wages for new school clothes and her future! Her sister Anna Mae is aghast at the idea of being left behind with their deeply depressed mother

Peggy’s big sister opens the teen’s eyes to truths about the family peach farm, very unwelcome facts that explain why Doris hasn’t brought her baby back to visit.

Lisette’s fancy new house? Her father’s bank foreclosed on his good friend’s house, then the banker bought it instead of stopping the seizure?!

Ginny Rose discovers Babyland in the cemetery, where the tiniest children are buried – could she bring her little brothers here, for good?

The three teens from very different parts of society find a common purpose as Peggy and Lisette decide to help Ginny Rose on her quest!

Told in alternating chapters by Ginny Rose and Peggy during the sweltering summer of 1947.

Which friends would help you with a challenge?
**kmm

Book info: The Peach Rebellion / Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf /PRH, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A quest, an escape, SOMETHING CLOSE TO MAGIC is needed! by Emma Mills (YA book review)

book cover of Something Close to Magic, by Emma Mills. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

When Aurelie’s feckless parents used up all their money, she was forced to leave school and magic lessons to become apprentice to a miserly baker.

Use her Seeker skills again? Dashing finder Iliana convinces her to try – for a percentage of the bounty. Everyone knows that each magic spell used has a consequence of opposites…

They set out through the dreaded Underwood to find Elias, son of a royal servant. Along the way, Aurelie is pulled underground by an ancient being, rescued by Quad (a troll friend of Iliana), and has a vision of Elias nearby.

But instead of Elias, the three young women find Prince Hapless’s coach under attack!

To throw off the kidnappers, they continue roundabout in the Underwood, rather than take Hapless directly onward to the Scholar’s City. The prince is funny and nice and honest about being a very terrible student of magic, only living up to his court-given royal name now and again.

What?! The newspaper says Iliana and Aurelie kidnapped Hapless! But the attackers wore palace guard uniforms… something’s fishy.

They magically change the prince’s appearance and head for the capital instead. He and Aurelie hate to part, but promise to write… back to boring real life.

When Iliana appears at the bakery several weeks later, worried about a plot against Hapless at his sister’s ball, Aurelie must decide – see the man she knows she cannot be with or abandon her chance to become a master baker.

A pretender grabbing for the throne, unrequited affections, old magic and new magic – a worthy tale indeed!

What magic spell would you choose, if you knew it could boomerang?
**kmm

Book info: Something Close to Magic / Emma Mills. Atheneum, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can she OUTRUN THE MOON & fate through education or luck? by Stacey Lee (YA book review)

book cover of Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee. Published by Penguin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mercy wants better for her little brother than backbreaking laundry work, but she needs more education than their poor middle school can offer so she can start a business.

The teen negotiates her way into a semester scholarship at St. Clare’s School for Girls, the best in 1906 San Francisco, determined to brave anti-Chinese prejudice on the way to her dreams.

In return, Mercy promises snobby Elodie’s father a meeting with the Benevolent Association to apply for permission to sell his very fine chocolates in Chinatown…

Oh, how she longs to help her boyfriend Tom find his way into the sky instead of becoming an herbalist doctor like his father!

What if the headmistress decides Mercy isn’t worthy to be at St. Clare’s?
What if the Benevolent Association won’t consider their request?
What does her mother see when she foretells their futures?

Earthquake! The St. Clare’s girls escape to Golden Gate Park and, with Mercy’s practical skills, try to help others fleeing collapsed buildings and fires.

Her family! Their families! What now?

Outstanding historical fiction from the author of The Downstairs Girl (recommended here).

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?
**kmm

Book info: Outrun the Moon / Stacey Lee. Penguin, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I’m determined, strong, anxious – DON’T CALL ME A HURRICANE, by Ellen Hagan (YA book review)

book cover of Don't Call Me a Hurricane, by Ellen Hagan. Published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Five years since the hurricane,
end of childhood bliss,
more changes ahead…

Eliza’s Italian-American family rebuilt shore-side, but most year-rounders on their New Jersey island sold to developers and moved inland.

Summer before their senior year, Eliza and best friend Isa are lifeguards watching over families and surfers, worrying about the nature preserve being sold, doing what they can as climate activists (maybe going a little too far sometimes).

She usually steers clear of the summer people, but grudgingly agrees to teach city boy Milo how to surf since he’ll be here with dad and stepmom all summer.

Her therapist is trying to help the 17 year old unravel her anxiety about hurricane season, to quiet the litany of climate disaster that keeps Eliza up all night.

Milo wants to help the climate justice group – is he sincere or just trying to get closer to Eliza?

What can they do to save the nature preserve from developers with money, money, money?

Flashbacks to the hurricane’s wrath punctuate this stunning novel-in-verse examining changes and challenges.

How has climate change affected your community?
**kmm

Book info: Don’t Call Me a Hurricane / Ellen Hagan. Bloomsbury, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Starting over, needing to change, reinventing oneself – stories shared by AudioSYNC (audiobook recommendations)

This week’s AudioSYNC free audiobooks take us on journeys of self-discovery.

Remember to download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf by Wednesday 7 June 2023. All your AudioSYNC downloads are yours to read for 99 years, as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf.

You can sign up for a free Sora account and see the entire AudioSYNC season here.

How much will our characters change as their stories travel on?

CD cover of Poor Matza: Selected Stories of Avrom Reisen; by Avrom Reisen, Harvey Fink [Trans.] | Read by David Skulski. Published by Post Hypnotic Press

Poor Matza: Selected Stories of Avrom Reisen (free Sora download 6/1-6/7/23)
by Avrom Reisen, Harvey Fink [Trans.] | Read by David Skulski
Published by Post Hypnotic Press

Yiddish tales of shtetl life in Eastern Europe and the immigrant experience in pre-WWII New York City – 38 tales in a new English translation.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/80962/poor-matza-by-avrom-reisen-harvey-fink-trans-read-by-david-skulski/

clipart of swirly lines http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of The Truth About White Lies, by Olivia A Cole | Read by Mela Lee. Published by Hachette Audio

The Truth About White Lies (free Sora download 6/1-6/7/23)
by Olivia A Cole | Read by Mela Lee
Published by Hachette Audio

Fitting in at a new school is difficult, especially when unconscious biases divide and judge.

Can Shania accept how white privilege got her here without repeating its worst errors?

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/213614/the-truth-about-white-lies-by-olivia-a-cole-read-by-mela-lee/

How has an emotional or travel journey changed your sense of self?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

Are they cursed by THE GHOST OF SPRUCE POINT? by Nancy Tandon (MG book review)

book cover of The Ghost of Spruce Point, by Nancy Tendon. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Keeping track of the moon in his journal – check.
Learning to moderate his anxious tendencies – sort of check.

June in their remote Maine coastal village means two things to 12-year-old Parker: best friend Frankie arrives from the city to spend her summer, and tourists come to his family’s inn for relaxation and Mom’s incredible cooking.

Frankie is finally here, but the tourists aren’t. Only grumpy neighbor Mrs. Gruvlig would be pleased to have fewer people on Spruce Point – has she reawakened the curse that brought the sailing ship Westward to wreck upon its rocks long ago?

The whole Kids Confidential Meeting – Parker, little sister Bailey, their cousins from across the bay, and Frankie – brainstorm ways to save the inn, like more advertising and Mom leading cooking classes.

Unceasing rain in usually bright June, dangerous-to-touch moths eating all the oak leaves, road to the inn flooding – it must be a curse!

What are those floating green blobs of light in the cove?
Who (or what) is leaving things in the kids’ treehouse?
Why is there a ghost in Mrs. Gruvlig’s yard?

Maybe the sailors who died in the wreck of the Westward are causing the troubles or maybe it’s closer to home!

What’s your favorite ghost story?
**kmm

Book info: The Ghost of Spruce Point / Nancy Tendon. Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WITH GREAT POWER: THE MARVELOUS STAN LEE! by Annie Hunter Erickson & Lee Gatlin (Picturebook review)

book cover of With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee: An Unauthorized Biography, by Annie Hunter Erickson; illustrated by Lee Gatlin. Published by Page Street Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Growing up poor in New York City, Stanley Lieber escaped by reading adventure stories and dreamed of writing his own.

He began working at age 16 as an errand boy for Timely Comics magazine and got to write a Captain America story. But he signed it as Stan Lee, saving his real name for the day he would be a “real” writer.

When veteran writers quit Timely, Stan moved up to full-time writer and editor – as a teenager!

For two decades, he wrote story after story of predictable, perfect heroes as the company grew and became Marvel Comics. So boring.

His wife suggested that he write the superhero story that he’d want to read. So Stan teamed up with artist Jack Kirby, and they created the flawed yet Fantastic Four – a huge hit with comics readers!

What next? Reflecting on his own childhood, Stan invented a lonely, geeky, science-loving hero – the Amazing Spider-Man, drawn by Steve Ditko – an even bigger hit with readers!

Finally, the Marvel Comics’ bosses decided that Stan should make a series of unconventional superheroes, and the Marvel Comics Universe was born.

Continuing with Stan’s move to Hollywood as his superheroes became movie stars, this lively picturebook includes great background information. You can find free activity sheets here, courtesy of the publisher.

Who’s your favorite Marvel superhero?
**kmm

Book info: With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee: An Unauthorized Biography / Annie Hunter Erickson; illustrated by Lee Gatlin. Page Street Kids, 2021. [author interview] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Z is for Zahra and THE LOVE MATCH: who to choose? by Priyanka Taslim (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Love Match, by Priyanka Taslim. Published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Zahra, her widowed mother, grandmother, and little sister and brother are squeezed into a tiny city apartment, thankfully in the largest Bangladeshi community in the US.

Every Muslim deshi auntie in Paterson joins her mom in trying to set up Zahra with the right young man. Everyone knows that marrying into a rich family will solve every problem, as the popular Bengali natok dramas show through music and extravagant dances.

But the recent grad wants true love, like a Jane Austen novel – someone who adores her for herself, not for her auspicious social connections to Bangladeshi royalty or her mother’s amazing dressmaking skills.

Enough that Zahra has to work for a year to support her family while her besties head away to college. For now, she’ll keep drafting her novel, and someday she’ll finally study creative writing at Columbia University, someday…

Oh dear! Amma agrees with the wealthy Emon family that their son Harun and Zahra are a perfect match!! The 18 year olds decide quickly that they’re not suited for each other, but will go on several dates (with chaperones) to make their parents happy.

Meanwhile, every shift working together at the Pakistani chai shop brings Zahra and cute Nayim closer. He’s just arrived here in New Jersey, is staying with the imam, and loves music (more fun than Harun’s model-building and bearded dragon).

It is nice to be friends with Harun, even if there’s no spark between them. It’s lovely to be with Nayim at the deshi community picnic, even though he won’t discuss his family back home. It’s hard to watch her best friends excitedly prepare to move away for college, so hard.

Nayim or Harun?
Fairy tale or practicality?
Secrets?! More secrets?!

Trying to balance family expectations with her own dreams makes Zahra wonder if this summer will be a happy Dhallywood natok or a tragic one!

What’s your favorite literary love match?
**kmm

Book info: The Love Match / Priyanka Taslim. Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

V is for very mean, very short APPRENTICE LORD OF DARKNESS, by CED & Jean-Philippe Morin (Graphic novel review) #A2Z

book cover of Apprentice Lord of Darkness, by CED; illustrated by Jean-Philippe Morin. Published by Yellow Jacket / Little Bee | recommended on BooksYALove.com

It’s peaceful in Alkyll these days, no famine or pestilence in the medieval land.

Bah! Time for the so-short Apprentice Lord of Darkness to become all-powerful and rule this kingdom!

The Master of Evil shall be released from his 200-year imprisonment!

All the Apprentice Lord of Darkness needs is a secret hideout, some henchmen to do his bidding (and reach things on high shelves), a lot of money, and a plan…

After acquiring bumbling henchmen Gonzag (goblin scared of everything) and Slurp (huge, slimy, silly), the very mean anti-hero eventually finds a semi-suitable meeting place, a book of spells, and a little bit of money.

Next, they must hatch and train a dragon, then find a fearsome relic of evil power. What’s this? A princess bored with castle life wants to join their evil gang, too?!

Can the Apprentice Lord of Darkness complete this quest?
Does the land of Alkyll have a hero prepared to stop this pint-sized meanie?
Why is the A.L.D. so intent on world domination?

Surprises abound in this witty and clever graphic novel about finding one’s place in the world through barbarian battles, extra slime, dragons with attitude, and lots of determination.

What part of medieval life would you like to experience (temporarily)?
**kmm

Book info: Apprentice Lord of Darkness / CED (Cedric Asna); illustrated by Jean-Philippe Morin. Yellow Jacket / Little Bee, 2022. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.