Originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts also host a kidlit version of It's Monday! What are You Reading?
Last week I wasn't very successful in the finishing of books department. I finished: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell I really enjoyed Eleanor and Park but
I think what's preventing me from loving it is that the last third of the book was not what I was expecting and that
kind of skewed my feelings a bit. Still, I loved both Eleanor and Park
as characters and I loved them together as a couple. I just wasn't
expecting it to be so sad. At the same time, it's also "real life."
People who complain that books and movies end too perfectly can't say
that about this book, so in a way, I kind of like that about it too.
Monsieur Marceau: Actor Without Words by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Gerard DuBois Interesting
bio on the most famous mime, Marcel Marceau. I had heard his name
before and knew that he was a mime, but I didn't know much else. I
found his background about his life during World War II quite
Currently listening: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers I don't know.
This is a little too high fantasy for me. The only reason I'm still
listening is because I find the narrator's voice pleasant to listen to.
I might end up abandoning it.
I am so excited to be the final stop on The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle blog tour! The first book in the series, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, is on my list of top 5 favorite audiobooks of all time. Plus, Christopher Healy was gracious enough to Skype with my class this year. So to say I have an affection for this series would be an understatement. The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle is just as funny as the first book, with the added bonus of getting to know more about the princesses who rejected the princes charming in the first book.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses - Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose - to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms. But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have
to once again band together to stop it from happening - even if no one will ever know it was they who did it. Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, takes us back to the hilariously fractured fairy-tale world he created for another tale of medieval mischief. Magical gemstones, bladejaw eels, a mysterious Gray Phantom, and two maniacal warlords bent on world domination - it's all in a day's work for the League of Princes.
Today, the character I am pleased (?) to present to you is:
Stanislav Flimsham Occupation: Circus Owner, Ringmaster, and Consummate Showman
Affiliation: The Flimsham Brothers Circus
Kingdom of Origin: Svendlandia
Current Residence: Wherever the show takes him (a.k.a. a cushy luxury wagon in the circus caravan)
Other Flimsham Brothers: Jaques, Dmitri, Rufus, Armando
Longtime Foes: Wattler and Staldorf (two unreasonably hard-to-please audience members with a penchant for loud heckling)
Likes: Glitz! Glamour! Spectacle!
Dislikes: Humid days (they flatten his pompadour), “crying on the inside” clowns, anything monochromatic
Signature Move: The Make-‘em-Gape Rolling Cannonball Entrance
Oh, and just in case you're not convinced that you want to read The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle, then watch the hilarious book trailer. I think that will change your mind:
Storming the Castle Giveaway: The first THREE entrants today will receive signed copies of THE HERO’S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE and EVERYONE who enters is eligible to win a $200 gift card to the bookstore of his or her choice. (U.S. entrants only please!) You will need this SECRET CODE to enter the giveaway: Prince Charming. Enter here.
Twitter Chat: Join New York Times Bestselling author Marissa Meyer and Christopher Healy for a Twitter Chat on fractured fairy tales on Monday, June 3rd at 9pm ET. Hashtag #talesretold. There will be giveaways!
For this blog hop I am giving away a hardcover copy of:
Fall of Night by Rachel Caine Series: Morganville Vampires #14 Published: May 7, 2013 Publisher: New American Library Pages: 341 Genre: Fantasy Audience: Young Adult Disclosure: Book provided by publisher
Goodreads summary: Claire never thought
she’d leave Morganville, but when she gets accepted into the graduate
program at MIT, she can’t pass up the opportunity. Saying good-bye to
her friends is bittersweet, especially since things are still raw and
unsettled between Claire and her boyfriend, Shane.
Her new life
at MIT is scary and exciting, but Morganville is never really far from
Claire’s mind. Enrolled in a special advanced study program with
Professor Irene Anderson, a former Morganville native, Claire is able to
work on her machine, which is designed to cancel the mental abilities
But when she begins testing her machine on live
subjects, things quickly spiral out of control, and Claire starts to
wonder whether leaving Morganville was the last mistake she’ll ever
Giveaway terms and conditions: Must be 13 or older to enter and have a U.S. mailing address. One winner will be chosen. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to visit all the other blogs participating in this blog hop:
Originally hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, Jen and Kellee over at Teach Mentor Texts also host a kidlit version of It's Monday! What are You Reading?
I feel very accomplished because last week I finished two novel-length books: The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner I
really liked this story, I just wanted to know the characters more. I
felt like the novel ended just as I was getting to know them.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
I adored everything about this foodie graphic memoir. I will be writing a longer review of this one very soon! Picture books I read and enjoyed last week: Because You Are My Teacher by Sherry North, illustrated by Marcellus Hall A beautiful extended metaphor for what all classrooms should be: a vessel for inquiry and exploration.
Gandhi: The March to the Sea by Alice B. McGinty, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez A
great supplemental text to use when studying about the Salt March. This
book is way more interesting than a dry, voiceless social studies textbook.
What's a boy to do when you have to "show and tell" a member of your family at school and the only person available is your cantankerous old Grandpa Frank?
In The Frank Show, our young, unnamed narrator has a dilemma. He hears about all the cool, interesting family members his classmates are bringing in for show-and-tell, but all he can think about when having to talk about his grandpa is his mile-long list of complaints about the younger generation. This show-and-tell is bound to be a disaster... or is it?
The Frank Show is a wonderful book for kids and teens alike that is full of humor while also tugging on your heartstrings. Everyone has members of their family whom they often say, "It's just grandpa" or "It's just mom" and fail to appreciate all of the wonderful pieces of them that have been overlooked by their singular view of that person. What David Mackintosh has set out to accomplish in this story is to help kids see past their myopic view of their family members and dig deeper into who they are as people, not just as mom, dad, or grandpa.
This could be a fantastic mentor text to use when discussing perspective. There are also some really great snatches of text to discuss in finding ways to effectively inject humor into a piece of writing. I particularly love the rhythm and flow of this passage, which, in turn, results in a great comedic turn of phrase:
Kristian's dad is a comedian on TV who makes everyone laugh. Paolo's mom
is Italian and knows all about Italian and can speak Italian. Fay's
cousin tells you if your bag's too heavy at the airport. Donny's dad
works in a potato chip factory. Saul's aunt swam the English channel.
Hugo's stepbrother has a sports car with an eight-ball gearshift knob.
My grandpa's arm hurts when it's about to rain.
The Frank Show by David Mackintosh Published: August 1, 2012 Publisher: Harry N. Abrams Pages: 32 Genre: Picture Book Audience: Primary/Middle Grade Disclosure: Library Copy
When The Chew premiered on ABC a year and a half ago, it quickly became my favorite food-centric show. I loved the chemistry of the five hosts and have always adored the idea of a talk show revolving solely around food. Before The Chew premiered, Rachael Ray was my favorite food-related talk show, and though I still love Rachael (yes, I know this is a blasphemous statement for foodies, but I don't care), I am slowly tiring of her.
This cookbook features some of the best recipes from the first season of The Chew, but it also includes interviews with all the hosts: Michael Symon, Daphne Oz, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, and Mario Batali. While I wouldn't buy this book solely for the recipes since they are after all online, I would buy it for the interviews, and even then, I'd be more likely just to check it out from the library (which is what I did).
My favorite section of the cookbook was Clinton Kelly's entertaining tips, not because of their creativity and practicality, but the sheer humor of his suggestion that party hosts put marbles in their medicine cabinet to hear who's the first person to go snooping around your bathroom when they all crash to their floor as the cabinet door is opened.
If you're a fan of The Chew, not much new is revealed in this book, though the interviews are enjoyable to read. If you've never watched The Chew before, the book is put together in quite an attractive, easy-to-read format and thus the recipes might motivate you to give the show a go.
The Chew: Food. Life. Fun, edited by Peter Kaminsky and Ashley Archer Published: September 25, 2012 Publisher: Hyperion Pages: 231 Genre: Cooking/Lifestyle Audience: Adults Disclosure: Library Copy
As if Jill MacSweeney's life isn't complicated enough dealing with her
grief from the unexpected death of her father, now her fifty-something
mother wants to adopt a baby to fill the void left in her heart by her
deceased husband. Jill's mom Robin decides to take the open adoption
route and soon 18-year-old Mandy Kalinowski from Omaha, Nebraska is
staying with them, ready to give up her baby to Robin in just a
few weeks. Jill is less than thrilled, and she does very little to hide
her disdain from her mother or from Mandy.
Told in alternating
points-of-view between Jill and Mandy, readers find out very quickly that
there is a great deal to dislike about both girls: Jill's iciness and
tactlessness, and Mandy's frequent and numerous lies.
As the story progresses however, and the girls' stories begin to intertwine, both become more empathetic to the reader.
is one of those books you end up liking more than you think you will.
When I first started listening to the audio, I wasn't sure what to
expect, but by the end, I found myself shedding some tears. Sara Zarr
subtly and seamlessly finds a way to make you eke out a place in your
heart for these characters you were certain you would continue to
dislike throughout the entire novel.
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr Published: October 18, 2011 Publisher: Little, Brown Pages: 347 Genre: Realistic Fiction Audience: Young Adult Disclosure: Library Copy
What's that you ask? Well, that is the inside of the book jacket for the Taiwanese version of Level 2, and in it, I have been quoted! I'm the third from the bottom.
I have no idea what that says because I don't read Taiwanese, but the fact that I have been quoted in an actual book - a book that I absolutely love and adore, just blows me away. Is that something I can put on my resume? "Blurbed in the Taiwanese version of Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans." I like it. It has a nice ring to it. :)
Both Aristotle and Dante never knew what friendship was until they found each other. As both self-proclaimed loners, their relationship begins the day Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim at the local pool. From that moment on, the two boys share a bond that is almost palpable, and even distance, family complications, and near tragedy cannot break it.
Sparse, gentle, beautiful. Those are the best words I can use to describe Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.
Dante, and the entire cast of characters in this novel are some of the
most loveable and memorable in all of literature. There is no forced conflict here. This is a novel where the plot doesn't move the story, the characters do, and that's just how I like my novels.
I could draw this out and make this a longer review, but I feel like I'd be doing the book's sparse, straightforward style a disservice by droning on about it. It's something you just need to experience for yourself. Its multiple 2013 ALA awards, including a coveted Printz honor, are testament enough to its timelessness.
Last night I had the privilege of attending the A.S. King event at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor with a group of teacher and writer friends. It was by far one of the best author events I've ever attended. Amy is not only thought-provoking and entertaining, but she is downright hilarious too. She had our group of seven in the front row laughing so hard we were crying and snorting at the same time.
A.S. King snippets of awesome:
Amy chose her author name because it spells out "asking" and also because she wants her books to be viewed as gender-neutral.
She wrote her first four novels on a Swedish typewriter that had four a's on it.
Every book she writes has a prologue out of sheer stubbornness. To mess with the people she's encountered who insist on never reading a book's prologue, Amy decided that every book she writes WILL have a prologue and unless you read it, you will be totally confused.
Every book she has written has pieces of her life in them. Most recently, with Ask the Passengers, she does send love to the people up in planes.
If you ever get a chance to meet Amy in person, ask her to tell the story of when she received the phone call telling her she had won a Printz honor. It's by far the best award phone call story I've heard from an author, like something out of a movie.
Based on the prologue that she read to us last night, Amy's newest book, Reality Boy, set to come out in October, is a "Go directly to the top of the TBR pile" kind of book. It's about the aftermath of being a child of reality TV and the implications that has on the main character's life as he grows up. Talk about thought-provoking and a commentary on our fame-obsessed society!
It was such an awesome event that we stayed until the staff at Nicola's had to practically kick us out so they could close.
In between meeting Amy and practically getting kicked out of Nicola's, we did have another moment of awesome: an impromptu story time with Brian Wyzlic reading Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin. We were pretty much rolling on the ground from laughing so hard. Brian is quite an expressive reader. I wish I had recorded it instead of taken pictures.
Based on Shange's poem "Mood
Indigo", Ellington Was Not a Street is a gorgeous picture book full of moments from Shange's childhood when the influential African American minds such as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and W.E.B. DuBois, gathered at her house.
There are many opportunities for students to make inferences and build background
knowledge in this book. Scaffolding could be built with older students by
sharing just the poem first, then showing them the poem with Kadir
Nelson's stunning illustrations, and finally, reading the author's note
at the end which lists and explains all of the men mentioned in the
The meaning of "Mood Indigo" and even the picture book
itself won't completely make sense for kids without background into who the men
were that are mentioned in the poem.
I'm already thinking of the two ways I can use this book as a mentor text:
1) Mother's Day is coming up next weekend. Have students write "Because you're my mom" pieces.
This is an example of an entire book using one of Jeff Anderson's
infamous AAAWWUBBIS (As, Although, After, When, While, Unless, Before,
Because, If, Since) introductory elementsand thereforecan be used to show
students how they can correctly use because at the beginning of a
sentence so that it's not a fragment.
But let's also look at how
downright adorable this book is. After reading it, I have come to the
conclusion that Ahmet Zappa is the dad every kid deserves to have. He
clearly adores his daughter Halo and it shows through in this tearfully
sentimental and also chuckle-inducing story.
When beloved chef Eve Aronoff closed the doors of her eponymous restaurant eve in 2011, foodies all over Ann Arbor and the metro Detroit area grieved. But while Aronoff did not replace eve with another fine dining establishment, she did begin a new project in late 2010, opening a casual dining establishment called Frita Batidos.
The food at Frita Batidos is Cuban-inspired, but Aronoff will be the first to tell you that it is not traditional Cuban food. The name Frita Batidos comes from two staples of Cuban street food: A frita, which is a burger traditionally made from chorizo and topped with shoestring french fries and a brioche-type bun, and a batido, which is a tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit and sweetened milk.
My husband and I have eaten at Frita Batidos three times now since its opening in 2010 and each time has been a new, delightful adventure. When you walk in, you a greeted by a sleek, white space. You place your order at a counter and then seat yourself at one of the communal picnic tables or a bar stool against the wall.
While you wait for your order, customers can entertain themselves by playing dominoes left on the picnic tables.
I am highly entertained that my ginger lime juice came in a bag
Once your meal does come, however, it will be a no-brainer to push the dominoes aside in favor of some mouth-watering Cuban-style street eats.
A beef frita topped with a sunny side up egg and a side of coconut ginger rice
garlic cilantro fries with a snack of black beans, ginger coconut rice, melted muenster, and cilantro lime salsa
If you are a fan of Cuban food like I am and you're in the area, I highly recommend a stop inside for fun, casual meal.