Tag Archive | writing

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.

Can they keep safe THE BOOK OF STOLEN DREAMS? by David Farr (MG book review)

book cover of The Book of Stolen Dreams, by David Farr. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Scarce food, few jobs,
little hope, no freedom –
all seized by the dictator.

When he invaded Krasnia, Charles Malstain ordered that children be kept out of sight because he hates them so much!

Rachel and Robert have grown up in this sad country, she a dreamer and big brother an avid experimenter. The love and imagination of their parents turned the Kleins’ tiny apartment into a pirate ship or polar expedition!

On Rachel’s 11th birthday, Father took her and Robert to the city library where he worked, to see the world’s most fascinating book – The Book of Stolen Dreams, reputed to bring loved ones back from death’s kingdom. Actually, they were there to steal it, to keep it away from evil President Malstain who wants to use its power so he can live forever!

Oh no, the police! Father sends the siblings out of the library by a secret way, with the wondrous Book and instructions on how to safeguard it.

Mum’s poor health cannot long stand the strain of Father’s imprisonment far away. Following the only clue they have, 13-year-old Robert flees across the sea to Port Clement, a city of parks and happy people and hope, as Rachel is taken to a distant and dismal re-education orphanage.

How can they locate the person who should receive the Book?
Can Rachel escape the orphanage and find their father?
Does the artist who created its amazing images know where the last page of the Book is?

A race to keep the ultimate power over death out of evil Malstain’s hands!

Be sure to check out the puzzles and games on the author’s website here. Yes, book two is in the works.

Who would you want to visit with one last time?
**kmm

Book info: The Book of Stolen Dreams / David Farr; illustrated by Kristina Kister. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Ta-da! Another April #A2ZChallenge in the books! (Reflective) #A2Z

BooksYALove.com logo = heart, 3 upright books, cat

Another April, another double-dozen book recommendations for y’all!

I pointed out 25 wonderful new books and a pair of free audiobooks this month (download them free by Wednesday, of course).

Was the effort of participating in #AprilA2Z blogging challenge worth it?

Well, it was good to get back in the groove of writing every morning early, before facing the news and email demands.

I posted a link to my blog post with the Challenge hashtags on social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spoutible – every day. Every, single, day that I posted.

Got a nice handful of comments through the month, thanks to the AprilAtoZ Blog Challenge List here, a great place for you to find new blogs of interest to you.

I do wonder if anyone reads these recommendations which are my own summaries, not just copied from publishers or the book cover blurbs.

Going forward, I’ll aim for 3 posts a week, including the remaining 12 weeks of AudioSYNC summer free audiobooks.

Which AprilA2Z recommendation made you want to go grab that book?
**kmm

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.

Y = Time loop? Time warp? SEE YOU YESTERDAY, by Rachel Lynn Solomon (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of See You Yesterday, by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Just great – her high school nemesis is her new college roommate, and a guy in Physics volunteers her to answer a basic question that she doesn’t know.

Investigative reporting that turned Barrett’s whole high school against her isn’t good enough for the campus newspaper – full stop on her career plans.

Don’t even ask why she’s tagged in every photo of a frat house fire… worst Wednesday ever!

The next morning she wakes up to… Lucie moving in again? The first day of Physics and rude Asian guy and humiliating interview again? What is going on?!?

Somehow, she and Miles (the Japanese guy) are both stuck in a time loop – and he’s been repeating this same day for two months!

As they try over and over again to escape this not-great day, the teens discover commonalities (their Jewish heritage, wanting to tell stories that matter, love of classic movies) and differences (his parents are professors, her mom and soon-to-be stepmom run a stationery shop, she’s fat and he’s not).

Doing good deeds, skipping class, asking a retired professor about theoretical time travel – what’s going to break this cycle?

Or do they want to stay in this one September day forever, together?

Another love story set in Seattle by the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow (I recommended here) and We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This (see more here).

What day in your life would you want to experience on repeat?
**kmm

Book info: See You Yesterday / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

W is for wonderful AudioSYNC summer – reading with your ears starts NOW! #A2Z

Once again, audiobook publishers have teamed up to give us two FREE professionally produced titles through AudioSYNC every week for a summer of great listening, starting today!

Each theme-related pair of audiobooks will be available for one week (Thursday-Wednesday) so I will alert you about new titles for all 13 weeks.

You’ll need to download the free Sora reading app (instructions and sign-up link here) if you don’t already use it with your school or library.

It’s all free, and once you save either or both weekly selections to your Sora shelf, you can read them with your ears whenever you like – no expiration dates.

AudioSYNC summer begins now, with these two titles about the Freedom to Know:

CD cover of TOP SECRET: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers. Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

TOP SECRET: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers (free Sora download 4/27-5/3/23)
by Geoffrey Cowan, Leroy Aarons | Read by John Heard, Susan Sullivan, James Gleason, and a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Dramatization of the Washington Post’s publication of the secret Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War and pushback from the Nixon White House – recorded with a live audience.
https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/38585/top-secret-by-geoffrey-cowan-leroy-aarons-read-by-john-heard-susan-sullivan/

CD cover of YOU CAN'T SAY THAT! Writers for Young People Talk about Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell. Published by Brilliance Audio / Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

YOU CAN’T SAY THAT! Writers for Young People Talk about Censorship, Free Expression, and the Stories They Have to Tell (free Sora download 4/27-5/3/23)
by Leonard S. Marcus [Ed.] | Read by Tom Parks, Roxanne Hernandez, Arthur Morey, Janet Metzger, Thom Rivera, Susan Dalian
Published by Brilliance Audio / Candlewick

A noteworthy collection of YA authors share their experiences of their books being challenged for ‘controversial issues’ – Matt de la Peña, Robie H. Harris, Susan Kuklin, David Levithan, Meg Medina, Lesléa Newman, Katherine Paterson, Dav Pilkey, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Sonya Sones, R. L. Stine, and Angie Thomas.

I recommended the 2021 print book earlier on BooksYALove.com here

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/198953/you-cant-say-that!-by-leonard-s-marcus-ed-read-by-tom-parks-roxanne-hernandez/

How many audiobooks do you read in a year?
**kmm

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

R is for romance, fake – but THIS TIME IT’S REAL! by Ann Liang (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of This Time It's Real, by  Ann Liang. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Another year, another school,
another place to not fit in –
just keep writing…

Little sister is adapting fine to their new school, but moving back to China after many years away for Mom’s consulting career is really tough for high school senior Eliza – just keep writing…

When her adorably perfect boyfriend must exit the shadows “protecting his privacy” so social media readers can have more of their romantic interludes, Eliza is aghast.

No way that will happen since the 17 year old invented him for her school blog entry!

That writing opened the door to a prestigious online magazine’s internship, so somehow she’s got to make him really real, have cute adventures in Beijing together, snap some filtered photos, and keep the story going during their senior year.

Desperate, she pleads with Caz Song at school – if the popular model/actor will step in as her dream sweetheart, she’ll help him write the college application essays demanded by his over-busy parents.

How will they pull it off without endangering Caz’s contract obligations?
Can she convince their classmates and her best friend Zoe back in California that it’s a real relationship?
Is Mr. Perfect movie star actually a little lonely?

This adventure/relationship might not follow her outline or his script! Counting down to their big television interview…

How would you write your own happily-ever-after?
**kmm

Book info: This Time It’s Real / Ann Liang. Scholastic, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

L is LOVE RADIO: advice, music, more? by Ebony LaDelle (YA book review) @A2Z

book cover of Love Radio, by Ebony LaDelle. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Someday, he’ll be a hip-hop DJ and radio host.
Someday, she’ll be a noted writer on New York’s literary scene.
These days, maybe they can find time to find each other…

Sharing relationship advice on the radio is a highlight of Prince’s senior year, so very full of helping his mom who has multiple sclerosis and caring for his 6-year-old brother Mook.

Dani has an iron-clad plan for getting out of Detroit: be accepted to a great college in NYC, earn her Master of Fine Arts in writing, and become an author who changes the world.

As their paths cross for the first time since middle school, Prince thinks he might have a chance with his long-time crush, but Dani is intent on her exit plan. She does give him three dates to change her mind about starting a relationship – just three.

Sweet, thoughtful dates – interspersed with her flashbacks to an awful incident some months ago and his mom’s medical needs and…

Can you schedule falling in love?
When is a relationship past recovering?
What about a friend who lets you down one time too many?

Told in alternating chapters by the two teens, including transcripts of Prince’s radio shows and Dani’s unsent letters to noted Black women authors as she struggles with writer’s block on her all-important admissions essay.

What love song would you play to ease someone’s heartache?
**kmm

Book info: Love Radio / Ebony LaDelle. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [author video] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I is for IT ALL BEGINS WITH JELLY BEANS, by Nova Weetman (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of It All Begins With Jelly Beans, by Nova Weetman. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Since her dad’s sudden death, 12 year old Meg does all the errands (Mom’s depression is so deep) and suffers panic attacks at school.

Moving to a new Australian town and getting used to her new insulin pump has been no fun for Riley at all.

As 6th grade winds down, the two girls find themselves in the nurse’s office together more and more often. Jelly beans there help Riley when her blood sugar drops and can be the only breakfast Meg has – small things, small steps toward understanding.

Will Meg’s mom ever be able to leave their house again?
Will Riley’s diabetes keep her from doing fun things forever?
What will either of them write for their graduation speech, due in just a few days!?

Told in alternating voices by Meg and Riley, as they negotiate stresses at home, not being understood by their classmates, and anticipating junior high.

How do you help friends with medical needs in tactful ways?
**kmm

Book info: It All Begins With Jelly Beans / Nova Weetman. Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster, 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

It’s A2Z time again!!

April Blogging from A to Z challenge 2023 participant

Yep, it’s almost April, which means the big April A to Z Blogging Challenge is just hours away!

As I have for the past 11 years (over a decade?!), I will post 26 new book recommendations on an alphabetic schedule, starting tomorrow with A – and never give away the ending!

You’ll discover middle-grade and young adult titles, all-age picture books, and graphic novels from the US and abroad – beyond the often-duplicated bestsellers lists and well worth your time to read.

If you want to join the challenge, go here http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ before April 9th to sign up – it’s free and can bring lots of new readers to your blog.

Check out the wide variety of blogs participating in April A to Z on the Master List here https://tinyurl.com/3we8aa84 where mine is #148 – with 39 different categories, you’re sure to find interesting new blogs.

Ready to read?
**kmm