Kids’ Choice: Marshfield Dreams and Marshfield Memories by Ralph Fletcher

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With my 6th graders, each fall we read MARSHFIELD DREAMS by Ralph Fletcher. This is a funny yet touching memoir of Mr. Fletcher’s childhood, growing up in Marshfield, MA, in the 1960’s. He has a large family (8 kids) and a host of fun experiences. Part of the joy in this book is in the simple details of typical family life, such as getting a new baby sibling or a first pet. Events are portrayed in language that kids and adults will both enjoy. Each fall the kids tell me that this is “one of the best books I’ve ever read!”.

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You can imagine my great excitement when I discovered that a sequel to Marshfield Dreams — MARSHFIELD MEMORIES — was published this past fall! I contacted Mr. Fletcher’s publicist and she kindly sent me a copy to enjoy and to share with my students. The Fletcher fun continues with more stories about boy scouts, the woods, sibling hi-jinks, and Ralph’s burgeoning interest in both writing and girls. I was thrilled to be transported back to Marshfield!

Highly recommended for readers in grade 4/5 and up. This was a great choice for reluctant readers in older grades. And adults will enjoy it as well! Thank you for my review copy of Marshfield Memories. My school purchased my copy of Marshfield Dreams through Amazon.

Kids Spotlight: The Dragon of the Month Club by Iain Reading

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Last month I was asked by Book Publicity Services if I would like to take a look at THE DRAGON OF THE MONTH CLUB series by Iain Reading. I promptly gave it to my resident reader. She enjoyed it and thought it was a cute story and especially geared to middle grade readers, perhaps a tad younger than her (she is 12).

Here’s some info on the book from the publicist:

The Dragon Of The Month Club, by Iain Reading, was published in February 2015 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Genres: Middle Grade / Fantasy / Adventure

Synopsis:

The Dragon Of The Month Club is the exciting first installment in a new book series that tells the story of Ayana Fall and Tyler Travers, two best friends who stumble across an extraordinarily magical book and soon find themselves enrolled as members of a very special and exclusive club – The Dragon of the Month Club.

On the thirteenth of every month a new dragon conjuring spell is revealed and the two friends attempt to summon the latest Dragon of the Month. The varieties are almost endless: Air Dragons, Paper Dragons, Fog Dragons, Waterfall Dragons, Rock Dragons, Tree Dragons – not to mention special bonus dragons for all the major holidays, including a particularly prickly Holly Dragon for Christmas.

But one day when a conjuring spell somehow goes wrong Ayana and Tyler find themselves unexpectedly drawn into a fantastical world of adventure based on the various books scattered all across Tyler’s messy bedroom. Travelling from one book-inspired world to the next with nothing to rely on but their wits and a cast of strange and exotic dragons at their disposal they must try to somehow find their way home again.

Drawing inspiration from some of literature’s most memorable stories – from 19th century German folktales to the streets of Sherlock Holmes’s London – the adventures of Ayana and Tyler bring these classic stories to life in delightfully strange and unexpected ways. Filled with fascinating detail and non-stop action these books will spark the imaginations of readers of all ages to inspire a life-long love of reading and seeking out books that are just a little bit off the beaten track.

Contest:

There is an ongoing contest for readers to win a one-of-a-kind hardcover version of The Dragon of the Month Club with their artwork as the cover.

“Draw a picture! Write a story! Take a photograph! Bake some cookies! Mold a dragon out of clay! Knit one out of yarn! Make one out of LEGO! Whatever you want! Just let your imagination run wild because anything goes – the more creative the better! Send your dragon in and then on the 13th day of every month one entry will be chosen at random and featured on the official Dragon Of The Month Club website. Each month’s lucky winner will also receive a free one-of-a-kind personalized hard-cover edition of The Dragon Of The Month Club book featuring their winning artwork (or other creative content) on the cover or inside the book itself,” says Iain.

To learn more, go to http://www.dragonofthemonthclub.com/

About the Author:

Iain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain writes middle grade and young adult books. His published works include the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Connect with Iain on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

 

Kids/YA Review: TWERP by Mark Goldblatt

Another Net Galley find, TWERP is the story of Julian Twerski: a boy growing up in NYC (Queens) in 1969. Julian’s made a major error in judgment and has gotten suspended for bullying another kid (eventually revealed through the story). When he returns to school, his English teacher suggests that  he keep a diary of his life and events and tell the story of what happened through his own words (and if he does the journal, he gets out of writing a report on Shakespeare!).  Through Julian’s diary we get to know him, his pack of friends, his family, and what life is like for him. He’s a typical sixth grader with a slightly annoying but sometimes helpful older sister. His friends are a garden variety of boys who get into scrapes. He has a crush on a girl in his class (but so does his friend!). He even holds the title of “fastest kid in sixth grade”, but is finding that he might lose that honor this year. All in all, this book made for a great kids’ read: sometimes serious but often funny. I’d happily get it for our school library for our 4th-6th graders. I haven’t read Mr. Goldblatt’s other books (which are for adults) but you can tell he put his heart – and a piece of himself – into Julian’s story.

Thanks, Net Galley and Random House, for my copy!

Review: 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom by Angela Thomas

This title jumped out at me while I was trolling Net Galley one day. I figured I’m always looking for ways to be a better parent and I should check it out. I have delved recently into the Christian genre, and this was my first experience with a Christian parenting book.

First let me fill in some personal info for those of you who don’t know me. I am Catholic and was raised in a (very strict) Catholic household. My husband is Catholic and we are raising our children Catholic. So while I’ve often been drawn to Christian literature, I sometimes have a bit of a disconnect as my experience as a Catholic in terms of church services, etc. is different from other Christian churches (though I have attended some friends’ churches while visiting them or for events, and as a child loved going to Wednesday night youth group with a Baptist friend). That said, you have an idea where I’m coming from when I read these books.

So – in “52 Things”, Angela Thomas covers various things kids need their moms to do, like learn to play a video game, or say no and mean it, or be “groovy”. All the suggestions here are God-centered and child-centered and offered to help parents connect and forge stronger bonds with their children and within a Christian framework.

I loved reading these short sections of different ideas! To be honest, I only had two which didn’t speak to me as something I do or want to do. One had to do with celebrating “Hallelujah” instead of “Halloween”, with some reference to Halloween as celebrating evil. Personally in our house we love Halloween and the celebration of the connected next day’s (Catholic) All Saints’ Day holy day. The other was a great idea that is generally not available to us Catholics: dropping the kids off at youth group on Wednesday nights and getting some alone time for a couple of hours with the spouse! I’d love that! It’s like free babysitting and Sunday school all rolled into a Wednesday night.

All in all, I loved Angela’s voice while writing, which was a bit reminiscent of my favorite gal, Ree Drummond, Pioneer Woman. I appreciated her suggestions and how this book was easy to pick and read over time and if I only had ten minutes at a time (and what busy mom has more time than that?). I would recommend it to my fellow parents who wish to raise children within a household of faith and Christian tradition.

Thank you Net Galley and Harvest House Publishers for my free download!