Don't miss these even if they are catalogued in middle grade. A good story is a good story, right? When I picked up both of these works, from the first pages there was that feeling of instantly knowing these are brilliant books. These are the ones to savor and then share. Go. Find. Them.
"At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined."
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press, 2013
"Kevin has a bad attitude. He's the one who laughs when you trip and fall. In fact, he may have been the one who tripped you in the first place. He has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way—and he's even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on? Rhyme Schemer is a touching and hilarious middle-grade novel in verse about one seventh grader's journey from bully-er to bully-ee, as he learns about friendship, family, and the influence that words can have on people's lives."
by K. A. Holt
Chronicle Books, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Thursday, September 4, 2014
As you may know, my latest book, Amity, released last week from Egmont USA. Melissa was kind enough to share my cover story with you then, and today, I'm THRILLED to be able to reveal my book trailer! We're only about 8 weeks out from Halloween, so why not start getting in the spirit with a spooky video (and some creepy reads) now?
Monday, September 1, 2014
“We've had the civil rights movement and the women's movement—now it's time for the youth movement. Today, youth everywhere are rising up, building new organizations, and creating the changes they want to see in their communities and around the world. Be a Changemaker gives readers the tools and confidence they need to affect real change.”“BE A CHANGEMAKER is a how-to guide for young social entrepreneurs who want to effect social change in their communities and around the world. Equal parts instruction and inspiration, the book will include tools and tips, exercises, and profiles of teens who’ve already been there, done that.”
Laurie Ann Thompson swings by readergirlz today to chat with readergirlz cofounder, Janet Lee Carey about her new book.
JLC - Welcome Laurie! It’s good to have you’re here. Tell us what inspired you to write this book.
LAT - I was that kid who wanted desperately to save the world, but I had no idea where to start or even that I actually could. I didn’t come to discover my own power until I was in my 30s, and I didn’t think anyone should have to wait that long! In fact, I believe the world needs everyone to start making their own changes much sooner than that. I wrote Be a Changemaker to inspire teens as well as give them the tools they need to start creating the changes they care about—right now.
JLC - What can readergirlz learn from these committed teens?
LAT - I hope they can start to see themselves in the various profiles included in Be a Changemaker. I interviewed young people from age 9 through young adults, from across the United States and around the world, and from a variety of racial and economic backgrounds. If they can do it, readergirlz can, too!
JLC – I agree! Anything else you’d like to add about the book?
LAT - In addition to the inspirational profiles of young people who have already created change, Be a Changemaker is loaded with practical advice, templates, examples, anecdotes, and resources to help readergirlz jump right in and start making their change.
JLC – Can you share some excerpts?
“How many times have you complained about something but done nothing to fix it? Or noticed something and thought, Someone should do something about that? We all have those thoughts sometimes. And it’s okay, because none of us can solve every problem we encounter. But guess what . . . you’re someone. And when you set your mind to it, you absolutely can do something that matters.” (Chapter 1)
“‘Even though I can’t [completely] stop poverty, war, or rainforest destruction,’ Change the World Kids co-founder Phebe Myers says, ‘I’m a changemaker.’ As their motto goes, ‘No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.’” (Chapter 15)
Change the World Kids
“’Don’t hesitate because you feel like you have to have the whole model or long-term vision figured out and on a massive scale,’ says Jackie Rotman. ‘You can start small. Just start!’ She adds that after almost eight years of steady work, Everybody Dance Now! has achieved things she never even envisioned when she began the project.” (Chapter 17)Everybody Dance Now
JLC Anything else?
LAT I’d like to invite readergirlz to come and participate in the Q&A section on the Be-a-Changemaker website where we’re hoping to have an ongoing conversation between young changemakers at various stages in their journeys. Even if you’re just thinking about it, and you’re at the brainstorming stage about what you’d like to do, we would welcome your ideas.
JLC Thanks for this book highlighting innovative teen changemakers, Laurie. May their example inspire a wave of teen outreach worldwide.
Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters
By Laurie Ann Thompson
Simon Pulse/Beyond Words, 9/14
By Laurie Ann Thompson
Simon Pulse/Beyond Words, 9/14
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I'm super thrilled to be celebrating the release of my 12th (!) original novel, Amity, a haunted house story told in two separate perspectives, ten years apart. Diva Melissa was gracious enough to offer up a Cover Story slot to me, so here we go!
1. Did you have an idea in mind for your cover as you were proposing/writing the book? If so, what did it look like?
I think we all always knew Amity was going to have an image of a haunted house on the cover. It’s iconic and classic for a reason, right? We may have tossed around the idea of focusing in on one aspect of a house – a window, a door – or even doing something more modern and all type, but I don’t think any of those concepts were seriously on the table.
2. Did your publisher ask for your input on the cover design before the art dept started working? If so, what input did you give?
My editor at the time showed me an early mock-up with the image they were planning to use. But at the time, she did make it clear that everyone in-house was very enthusiastic about the image, which, as I know from my own days on the editorial side of the desk, is pretty crucial and not to be ignored.
3. What did you think the first time you saw the original version of your cover?
I liked the general idea and I really liked that Egmont was truly capturing that straightforward, “HORROR novel,” genre vibe. My main concern was only that the house itself looked nothing like the building that’s described in the book, or the original “Amityville” house. Specifically the half-moon windows are mentioned a whole bunch in the book, and are familiar to anyone who knows anything about the original Amityville crime. But I can appreciate that a strong cover can often outweigh the value of a literal cover. We talked a bit about how the house in the mock-up looked small and not quite menacing enough, and my editor assured me it would be tweaked.
And it was! And it’s amazing and perfect!
As you can see, the final cover is the same original image. But with the color adjusted, a new font, and lots of creepy blood dripped, the terror factor is amped way, way up. I could seriously marry this new final cover, and I’ve been thrilled with readers’ reactions to it! The general consensus seems to be that it’s insanely scary. Which to me translates to: mission accomplished!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
When a Gregory Maguire book releases, how can you not stop everything and read it? You must for Egg & Spoon. Think of a female, The Prince and the Pauper, intertwined with a fiercely endearing Baba Yaga, searching to save a Firebird and mother Russia, while controlling an ice dragon for the world's survival. By the author of Wicked. Enough said, right?
Here is an epic story for middle-grade, young adults, and adults, and it will be beloved. For the first time, I fell in love with a house with chicken legs.
Within the 475 pages, you'll find language as rich as Saint Petersburg. It is the only point which will give you pause as you relish Maguire's word choice and imagery. Truth beats at the heart of the fairy tale, dabbled with modern references due to Baba Yaga's timelessness. I leave you with Baba speaking to her resident cat.
Baba Yaga snorted. "I look like a woman of a certain age."
"You are," said Mewster.
"Oh, no," said the witch. "I am a woman of every age."
Egg & Spoon
by Gregory Macquire
Candlewick Press, 9/14