Summer Reading 2017

It’s that time of year again – time to delve (willingly or otherwise) into summer reading. Schools are handing out their lists. Libraries are offering all sorts of wonderful programs to give our youngsters an incentive to read. I’d like to share a couple more resources with readers.

First, there is the 2017 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. http://www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2017

This site is one to definitely check, for not only does Scholastic offer plenty of wonderful books and advice for parents and educators, you can find out locations where the Scholastic bus will be visiting this summer. Hopefully, there will be one near you!

If you are struggling to come up with ideas for books your kids might like or feel you need advice, then check out the website for Reading Rockets, http://www.readingrockets.org/books/summer/2017.

This website has so, so much! There is advice for parents, advice for educators, tons of book suggestions listed by themes. Don’t miss the “Fun Stuff” section. For young authors in the crowd, the site gives details of contests you can enter.

My personal favorite part of the Reading Rockets website is this article: http://www.readingrockets.org/article/10-weeks-summer-reading-adventures-you-and-your-kids. It’s ten whole weeks of reading and reading-related activities for you and your kids! This is especially good when one or two weeks into summer, your kids are already whining “I’m bored” and your brain simply freezes when it comes to thinking up yet another thing for them to do. (Whatever happened to the days when you simply let your kids out of the house and they came up with their own ideas?)

Another summer reading initiative by Reading Rockets is Start with a Book, http://www.startwithabook.org/summer-reading-learning.

I love the books they offer and I love the activities. I used an activity on camouflage: http://www.anapsid.org/pdf/camoflage.pdf It was easy to use/teach and also fun.

Looking for still more inspiration? I have one last site to recommend. Check out this site: https://www.thoughtco.com/summer-reading-lists-for-kids-and-teens-627024

I love the categories they offer and every time I have taken their suggestion of a book, I have not been disappointed.

What will you be readings to kick off your summer reading? Let me know in the comments below!

Harry Potter Book Tag

I was tagged by Sophie at Blame Chocolate to do the Harry Potter Book Tag – thanks, Sophie!

The Harry Potter Book Tag was created by Trang and Lashaan at Bookidote. All the graphics used below belong to them.

flagrate

arabian-nightsA book you found interesting, but you’d like to rewrite it

Earlier this year I reviewed a National Geographic book, Tales of the Arabian Nights by Donna Jo Napoli. I liked the book, but what I really want is a modern-day version. OK, I’ll admit that no one could probably go killing a wife every night and get away with it; however, I like the idea of a series of stories which can each stand alone and yet are linked together by an overarching story. It’s kind of like a story quilt. Each little piece is unique, interesting, colorful and together these pieces make up a satisfying whole.

 

alohamoraThe first book in a series that got you hooked

 Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I just was so into this story when it first came out. The movies rather spoiled this series for me.

accioA book you wish you could have right now

 One book I would love to own is Caraval by Stephanie Garber. BUT I want a copy with one of the special covers under the jacket. I have been searching but have been disappointed so far!

avada kedavraA killer book

One of the required reading books at the school where I work is Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. Dreadful in every way imaginable.

confundoA book you found to be confusing

His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman. I found this series had so many twists and turns that I simply lost interest long before the conclusion. It contained battle scenes, which I personally don’t like to read. I also find lying to be a particularly unpleasant trait, and Lyra is such a liar that I simply cannot find her as likeable as many people do.

expecto patronumYour Spirit Animal book

One book that has given me guidance throughout my life is Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Actually, I could say this of most of her novels. They are packed with a wisdom that simply speaks to me. I especially love her insight into character. Some examples: “…and  it suddenly occurred to her that that simple little prayer (Now I lay me down to sleep) was entirely unsuited to this freckled witch of a girl who knew and cared nothing about God’s love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love.” Or this one (when Anne breaks her slate over Gilbert’s head): “Avonlea school always enjoyed a scene. This was an especially enjoyable one. Everybody said, “Oh” in horrified delight.” If that doesn’t exactly sum up every classroom I’ve ever been in, I don’t know what does!

sectumsempraA dark, twisted book

I read Lord Loss, first in the Demonata series by Darren Shan. I didn’t continue with the series because it was so dark and disturbing. It’s well-done if you can tolerate this kind of writing. I happen to be partial to sleeping at night.

apareciumA book that surprised you in a great way; it reveals to be more than it is

When I first read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, I was so surprised and so entranced by the whole book. It’s wildly imaginative (I just want this circus to be real!). On the surface it seems like a story about a very special circus, yet the deeper you go into the story, the more th7at is revealed. “Secrets have power” (pg. 226). This book is filled with powerful secrets.

 

I’ve decided not to tag anyone specifically for this awesome book tag. Instead, I’m inviting anyone who might want to participate to try it for themselves. No need to wait to be tagged this time around! Can’t want to see YOUR book selections for these questions!

Two BookWorms Blog’s Dream Author Panel

What avid reader doesn’t have their favorite authors? For many of us, the problem is which ones to choose! And with no limits, the possibilities are endless! So in today’s post, I’m putting together my dream author panel of authors I’d love to meet and hear talk about their books!

After mulling over many options, I finally decided to focus on a particular genre: horror. Why? I made this selection because scary stories – or at least those with dark overtones – are so universally popular. Not matter what age or gender, people like a good scary story. However, in narrowing down my choices, I decided to match up some authors perfect for a YA audience.

Vincent Price

    Vincent Price     Photo Credit

First of all, I’d like to introduce my moderator. I chose Vincent Price, master actor of the creepy and macabre in film. For many people, when they think of horror flicks, V.P. is the first actor to come to mind. He played wonderfully villainous roles and has been called “the father of horror movies.”  Who better to question a panel of horror writers?

Now for my panel. I tried to include variety here with two men and two women. Two are writers from the past; two are present-day writers. All achieve excellent results in the spine-tingling, put-your-head-under-under-the-covers department.

  1. Daphne du Maurier – Best known for her novel Rebecca, du Maurier wrote several other novels of a dark, paranormal nature. She also wrote short stories and two in particular were made into great horror films. “Don’t Look Now” and “The Birds” still scare me!
  1. Edgar Allan Poe – Poe is known primarily for his tales of mystery and horror. Many were produced as movies – starring our moderator, of course – and remain popular today. “The Raven,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” and “The Pit and the Pendulum” are just a few of the favorites.
  1. Holly Black – I had to include Holly Black as one of my choices. She is such a versatile writer, with YA and middle grade novels galore, graphic novels, short stories and poetry. She is perhaps most well-known for the Spiderwick series, but check out The Darkest Part of the Forest or some of her short stories.
  1. Tim Burton – Although he is mainly considered a filmmaker, I had to include him on my panel. He has done such wonderfully creepy adaptations of great stories and added many new movie stories. My favorites include Frankenweenie (author: Burton) and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (author: Riggs). I’ve also had the opportunity to see his artwork in New York. Wonderful!

With my panel assembled, I took some time to develop my – excuse me, Mr. Price’s – questions, too.

Q: Why do you think that the horror genre is so popular?

Q: Atmosphere is so important in a good horror story. What are some of the ways you create this sense of mood in your own stories?

Q: Characters are equally important. What makes a great villain?

Q: In terms of horror, what type of media do you think is more powerful: written or visual?

Q: Where do you find your inspiration?

For more awesome author panels, be sure to check out other participants in this “dream author panel” project, hosted by Eventbrite! For those of you who are not familiar with Eventbrite, they help event organizers create memorable events of all kinds. Learn more at https://www.eventbrite.com/l/registration-online/.

Who would be on YOUR dream author panel?! Let me know in the comments below!

How Well Do You Know…Classic Quotes

 

Today is Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) Day, so I thought we could have some fun with a little quiz. See if you can identify the author and source of these quotes! (Answers below.) All of the quotes come from great classic books (some a bit more recent than others) which, hopefully, young readers will still take the time to dive into. It was a tough list to compile. So many choices!

  1. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
  2. Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without sign posts.
  3. When Mary Lennox was sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable –looking child ever seen.
  4. “I am going to take you somewhere. It’s time you began to see the world. You are eleven years old and it’s time you saw something…”
  5. Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin.
  6. In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy tale. This is about REAL WITCHES.
  7. “I am not a pest.”
  8. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
  9. It was Buck, a live hurricane of fury, hurling himself upon them in a frenzy to destroy.
  10. “I hadn’t gone ten miles down the river that day when I knew I had left the real witch behind.”
  11. Willie spelled it out slowly, carefully. “it says – There – is – enough – for – all
  12. “Where’s Papa going with that ax?”

 

Answers:

  1. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
  2. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
  3. Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
  4. Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy (quoting Old Golly)
  5. A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
  6. Roald Dahl, The Witches
  7. Beverly Cleary, Ramona the Pest
  8. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (quoting Albus Dumbledore)
  9. Jack London, The Call of the Wild
  10. Elizabeth George Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond (quoting Nat)
  11. Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill
  12. E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (quoting Fern)

Two BookWorms Blog Dream Crate

A couple of months ago I learned about a project by Loot Crate where fans of all kinds could highlight and share their ideal crate. What choices! What fun! How should I approach this? Should I choose a character, say, Harry Potter, as my theme? Or should I consider a series like Brian Jacques’ Redwall stories? After much consideration, I decided to go in a more unusual direction and use the cult classic (and one of my daughter’s all-time favorite books), The Outsiders.

For those of you who don’t know, Loot Crate is a gift and subscription box service focused on geekery, gaming, and pop culture. You can choose a theme – for example, gaming or anime – and every month you’ll receive a specially curated box with items like t-shirts, comic books, or vinyl figures. Check out the Loot Crate website to learn more and sign up for your own subscription!

So, what would my crate contain? Here’s my list:

the outsiders

Photo Credit: Penguin Random House Available HERE

50th Anniversary Edition of The Outsiders

2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of The Outsiders, which was written in 1967 when Hinton was just 16 years old. This special edition has no jacket (ha!) but has a textured cover and some behind-the-scene pages not included in the original.

the outsiders shirt

Photo Credit: Out of Print Clothing              Available HERE

Outsiders T-Shirt

Check out these book covers, including one for The Outsiders which you can also find in shirt form from Out of Print Clothing!

stay gold ponyboy mug

Photo Credit: Aleen (Society6) Available HERE

“Stay Gold Ponyboy” mug

This list would be incomplete without one item with Johnny’s classic line!

phone case outsiders

Photo Credit: Rule 30 (Redbubble) Available HERE

Outsiders phone case

This phone case lists the names of the main characters. It’s a nice, subtle nod to the book (or film) without being as obvious as some of the other items in this Dream Crate! I will say, I’m not sure what happened to Steve, but unfortunately, he’s been left out of this list.

let's do it for johnny

Photo Credit: Htexvegas (Cafe Press) Available HERE

“Let’s Do It for Johnny” magnet

Celebrate another icon Outsiders line, this time from the movie version, with a simple magnet to decorate your fridge or locker.

the outsiders poster

Photo Credit: Craft and Graft (Society6) Available HERE

The Outsiders Movie Inspired Poster

This print entitled “A Movie Poster A Day: The Outsiders” is an awesome take on the film. It’s available in a few different sizes and even includes options for framing when purchased directly from the site.

Full disclosure: Julia already has the first two items on my list – and loves them. You can check out her review of The Outsiders HERE.

So what do you think? Are there other books out there that deserve a crate? Which would you choose? I’d love to hear from everyone!

Update: March 2017

bb-giveawayThis month is the second anniversary of Two BookWorms Blog, and it’s time to celebrate! To thank you for reading and following, I’m hosting a giveaway where one lucky winner will receive a copy of Jan Brett’s picture book Beauty and the Beast! All you need to do to enter is follow Two BookWorms Blog and leave a comment below by Sunday, March 5th! Let me know what books you’d like to see me review in the coming months.

And that’s not all. There is plenty more to look forward to throughout the month, as some new regular features will be introduced.

The first new feature is called Picture Book Plus. There will be a review of a picture book – with a “plus.” This will include an activity (art, craft, or otherwise) that will help enhance the whole reading experience.

Another new feature to be added on a regular basis will be to review “the classic of the month.” Some books are so timeless that they should be pulled out and reread. Hopefully this column will give readers a little refresher on some of the great, unforgettable stories of the past. I welcome suggestions of your favorites!

This month the new Disney live-action version of Beauty and the Beast will open on March 17th. In preparation, I’ve reviewed the original story, as well as several new versions that have been published in the last year. I think you will find some surprises (including one real gem) among the reviews.

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a lot of really wonderful books this month. Hope you share all of them with me!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win your own copy of Beauty and the Beast! The winner will be announced Monday, March 6th. Good luck!

The Clues: Blind Date with a Book #3 (2017)

The Clues:

 

  1. The original publication date was 1930 but the book has had many subsequent reprintings.

 

  1. It is a mystery.

 

  1. The main character is a girl sleuth.

 

Leave your guesses in the comments below!

The Clues: Blind Date with a Book #2 (2017)

The Clues:

 

  1. The story takes place in England, 1938.

 

  1. It is a twisted, tangled romance.

 

  1. It involves a case of mistaken identity.

 

Don’t forget to leave your guesses in the comments below!

Call for Guest Posts!

Have an idea for an article that doesn’t quite fit your blog? Looking to reach a new audience in 2017? Searching for a blogging community? Interested in sharing your own writing?

We can help!

We’re currently seeking Children’s Literature-themed guest posts for 2017. Please check out our Guest Post guidelines, and feel free to contact us if you’d like to participate or have any questions.

We’re looking forward to working with you next year!

Best Picture Books of 2016

For my next couple of posts, I am going to be giving some lists to help with holiday gift ideas. This particular list (and it is incomplete) comes from the presentation that Julia and I attended this past weekend. It took place at the Eric Carle Museum for Picture Book Art. The moderators were Cathie Mercier and Susan Bloom, both professors for the Children’s Literature Program at Simmons College. Any of these books is an excellent choice to expand a young person’s library. So many fresh voices and ideas! So much art that will enrich the whole story experience!

 

They All Saw a Cat. Brendan Wenzel. Chronicle.

Little Red, Bethan Woollvin. Peachtree.

School’s First Day of School. Adam Rex, illustration by Christian Robinson. Roaring Book Press.

Before Morning. Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

jazz-dayThunder Boy Jr. Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales. Little, Brown.

The Tree in the Courtyard: Looking Through Anne Frank’s Window. Jeff Gottesfield, illustrated by Peter McCarty. Knopf.

Freedom in Congo Square. Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. little bee books

Du Iz Tak?, Carson Ellis, Candlewick.

Lucy. Randy Cecil. Candlewick.

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph. Roxanne Orgill, illustrated by Francis Vallejo, Candlewick.

 

I’ll be adding more to this list later this week. Stay tuned for ideas for older readers.

Barbara