Try out for school play – okay.
Make new friends – okay.
Hope your brother isn’t a murderer – yikes!
Francie decides to stay in the Minnesota northwoods for senior year, despite the adventure at Enchantment Lake (my recommendation here) over the summer, but is the New York private eye (on TV) ready for the reappearance of her brother Theo, disappearance of newly found dinosaur bones, and winter on the lake (really thin ice)?
Second in the series, a twisty-turny mystery.
Book info: The Clue in the Trees: An Enchantment Lake Mystery / Margie Preus. University of Minnesota Press, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Jewel thief on the loose,
Gangs terrorizing 1909 London’s Chinatown,
A young woman’s body in the river!
Has crime boss the Baron returned?
At Sinclair’s department store, Sophie sells ladies’ hats, Lil models elegant dresses, and both young women keep their eyes open for strange events, like the disappearance of a valuable moth-shaped brooch during an engagement party.
Time for disguises and etiquette review as they drop in on debutantes, check over clues with buddies Billy and Joe, and research the Moonbeam Diamond’s curse!
My no-spoiler recommendation of book 1, Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, introduces Sophie and Lil as Sinclair’s Department Store opens amid rumor and mystery. Watch for book 3, Mystery of the Painted Dragon.
What disguise would you choose when sleuthing about?
Book info: The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (Sinclair’s Mysteries, book 2) / Katherine Woodfine. Kane Miller Publishing, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Grandfather said she would become guardian of this katana at age 16, as Yamatos have done for over 500 years.
Surely it’s okay if Mio takes the ancient sword from its hiding place a little early, while Mom and Dad are away…
Monsters and gods, worlds of humans and spirits, from Japan to London to the depths of despair to first love – the katana connects them all to Mio as she struggles to master herself and the legendary blade’s powers.
Glide into Mio’s no longer boring life by reading the first chapter here free (courtesy of the publisher). Yes, all 3 books of the trilogy are available in the US!
Family secrets – what to share?
Book info: Name of the Blade (Name of the Blade trilogy, book 1) / Zoe Marriott. Candlewick Press, 2014. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Woke up as a girl for grade 9,
as an African-American guy for grade 10,
what’s in store for Drew on the first morning of grade 11?
In the third Changers book (my notes on Book 1 here and Book 2 here), our hero/ine is now an Asian-American girl who has to deal with fat-shaming by peers and adults, body image, former friends not being able to know who s/he is now, and the long-standing conflict between Changers and Abiders boiling over.
Thankful for her drama pal Kris (so very, very dramatic), especially when her grandmother falls ill – oh, this third transformation is not the best one!
The authors say that Book 4 – where our teen must choose which body and identity to keep for life – is due for 2018 publication!
What lessons learned by fictional characters have you taken to heart?
Become the hunters, not the hunted.
Avoid the monsters, human and otherwise.
Survive without killing the human ones?
So many genetically-modified creatures are out to get Lozen, Hussein, and the others who’ve escaped from the Ones who torture for fun. Perhaps she can protect her family and friends without taking a human life…
As Killer of Enemies (my review here) in the tech-blasted future, Lozen had to obey the Ones, or her family would be killed.
Along the Trail of the Dead, Lozen’s family is larger and the dangers are immense.
Arrow of Lightning is a super wrap-up of this #ownvoices trilogy – Lozen is on my heroes list.
To save your family, what lengths would you go to?
Book info: Arrow of Lightning (Killer of Enemies, book 3) / Joseph Bruchac. Lee and Low Books, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Male or female?
Freedom Province gives the choice,
but it’s the only choice they’ll ever get to make!
Imagine being raised with a batch of non-related siblings by a rotating crew of caretakers, medically kept from reaching puberty until age 17 when you decide all your adult physical characteristics including gender…
Which cover do you prefer – the misty hardcover or the mix-and-match paperback?
Book info: Remake (Remake, book 1) / Ilima Todd. Shadow Mountain, 2014 (hardcover); Simon Pulse, 2016 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover images courtesy of the publishers.
My book talk: Perhaps “Uncertain” would be a better name for Nine, who wants to run away on Remake Day instead of deciding whether to remain female or become male. The other 17 year olds in her Batch know exactly who they want to be as adults, unconcerned about the Prime Maker’s master plan for total control over Freedom Province.
When an accident rocks the Remake shuttle, Nine washes ashore on an island with people who aren’t perfectly formed, who don’t live in identical highrise buildings, who nurture the tropical land and each other.
Pregancy? Illness? Disability? What are those things?
How does being a “family” make those worries easier?
Can Nine adapt when Freedom’s medications leave her system?
Decisions that Nine must make on the island may have even greater consequences than her Remake Day choice, as she discovers Freedom Province’s deepest secrets.
He dreams of NBA fame,
not math or astronomy,
but suddenly, he must use every skill…to stay alive!
When an explosion hits their neighborhood, young teens must get over old disagreements and pool their talents so they can escape the danger and find their parents, using a new computer game that calls into question everything they ‘know’ about their families and themselves.
Would you run for safety or stay to find your family?
Book info: The Lost Tribes (Lost Tribes, book 1) / C. Taylor-Butler; illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith. Move Books, 2015. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy from author for MultiCultural Children’s Book Day 2018; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Life on their boring California street explodes into adventure as Ben and his friends work together on an amazing quest computer game, just before all their parents go missing!
Ben and younger sister April seize Uncle Henry’s challenge to solve the game in one week, bringing in neighbors Carlos (great at programming, bad at basketball), Grace (best friend since kindergarten, even if she’s a girl), and Serise (codebreaker deluxe, super snob) as the 3D interactive missions invite them to “find 8 keys” all over the world.
The five encounter puzzles and codes and stinky bird poop (almost as bad as the goopy smoothies Mom makes Ben and April drink) in Egypt, Easter Island, China – it’s so real!
But their parents are acting weirder than usual, a huge satellite dish appears near Carlos’ house then vanishes, and a nighttime attack sends all the families fleeing, kids separated from the adults!
Can the game help the teens get to the “harbor of safety” in reality?
Who would target their easy-going scientist and doctor parents with bombs?
What did Uncle Henry mean about “introducing them to the family business”?
This first book in the Lost Tribes series takes readers on a wide-ranging adventure as the five youths of different cultural backgrounds must use their individual talents together to keep the universe in balance.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day (27 Jan 2018) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom.
Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
When Glinda was a schoolgirl
and the Brick Road didn’t shine brightly,
Oz existed, long-historied already…
Every well-known story has a “before” – before the crisis threatens, before the heroes awaken, before the epic battle.
Gabriel Gale’s Ages of Oz series brings us the “before” for Glinda the Good and other citizens of Oz, before Dorothy and Toto followed that familiar yellow brick road, as “the Royal Historian of Oz” allows another to be called “author” so these stories can be published in our world.
Look for book 2, A Dark Descent, in May 2018 as A Fiery Friendship comes out in paperback.
How do you know when a convenient alliance becomes a friendship worth fighting for?
Book info: A Fiery Friendship (Gabriel Gale’s Ages of Oz, book 1) / Lisa Fiedler, illustrated by Sebastian Giacobino. Margaret McElderry Books, 2017. [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: On her Declaration Day, Glinda’s future becomes less certain, as the Scroll doesn’t reveal her foretold occupation, her mother is imprisoned for magic by the Witch of the South, and the young teen is contacted by a secret society intent on reclaiming Oz from its four wicked rulers.
The yellow-hued land of Quadling under Asphidina is only golden for those favored by the Harvester queen, who forbids magic use by most.
Glinda can rescue her mother from Asphidina’s floristic prison – if the magic cards briefly seen have seeped into her very being.
Locasta from purple Gillikin land and Sam from another world entirely – youth joining her to fight ancient Wickedness.
Secrets uncovered will free the four lands of Oz from their bondage – if these friends survive long enough!
First in a series recounting the long-ago history of Oz, Glinda’s new friendships mingle with old prophecies, setting the stage for the Yellow Brick Road story so well-known to us. Followed by A Dark Descent.
As the river-gods sing, boats are safe on the river,
but they aren’t singing to her yet…
will they deny her?
Following in her father’s footsteps should be easy, but Caro hasn’t been Gifted yet, months and months past time. She will have to captain their boat anyway, and the dangers are more than just sandbars and river pirates now!
What has come to you later than you expected?
Book info: Song of the Current / Sarah Tolcser. Bloomsbury, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: By carrying a secret cargo aboard her family’s river wherry to a seaport, Caro hopes to save her father from unjust imprisonment, but the teen soon finds the crate in her boat’s hold is worth more than mere gold and may cost her life!
Soon, the river gods will sing in Caro’s blood, as they’ve done in all the Oresteia wherry captains in her family’s long history… long overdue, but perhaps soon.
The country’s ruler demands that a heavy crate go now to a sea island, and it falls to Caro and crewmember Fee to take it, out of the safe bends of the river, away from the pirates also seeking it, onto the too-deep ocean waters.
Forbidden to open the crate, Caro does…
Seeking assistance from her mother’s family, Caro dares…
Believing this strange young man’s outlandish story, Caro risks…
The fates of two nations collide on a quiet riverbank, as a young woman who wants only to captain her wherry must travel further than she ever dreamed and face dangers she never imagined in order to save her father’s life and find justice amid webs of political intrigue and glimmers of love. (followed by Whisper of the Tide, May 2018)
Such a fancy new department store!
How lucky that Sophie landed a job there in Ladies’ Hats!
How dreadful that the prized Clockwork Sparrow was stolen…and that Sophie is a suspect!
And how very fortunate that orphaned Sophie finds allies in the store who help her solve the mystery and are willing to risk crossing paths with the evil Baron of 1900s London’s crime underworld!
The author introduces her Sinclair’s Mysteries in this video (love listening to her British accent!) and takes us to real-life London locales which inspired them.
How do you stand by your friends in difficult times?
Book info: Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow (Sinclair’s Mysteries, book 1) / Katherine Woodfine. Kane Miller Books, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Locked-room mystery, mysterious strangers, and even stranger deliveries make Sinclair’s Department Store of London an intriguing place to work in the early 1900s, but teens Sophie (Ladies’ Hats, recently orphaned) and Lillian (dress model, between acting jobs) discover that a missing clockwork bird holds dangerous secrets within its jeweled feathers.
How can apprentice porter Billy help the police?
Is the Clockwork Sparrow more than a beautiful music box?
Why is underworld crime boss The Baron involved?
First in the series featuring our determined young ladies and their friends in high places and low neighborhoods as they deal with ciphers, codes, churlish villains, and social class.