Archive | May, 2016

Small town debut

16 May

Last year was taken up with debut YA novels I couldn’t write about so I am excited to get write about Jeff Zentner’s The Serpent King.  I wonder what this year’s Morris Committee thinks of this one.

Unknown

Publisher’s Summary: Dillard Early Jr., Travis Bohannon, and Lydia Blankenship are three friends who have one thing in common: none of them fit the mold in tiny Forrestville, Tennessee. Dill, a talented musician, grew up in a Pentecostal snakehandling church, playing in the praise band. During his freshman year, his father went to prison for a heinous crime, leaving Dill and his mother impoverished.

Travis is a gentle giant who works at his family’s lumberyard and is obsessed with a Game of Throneslike fantasy series, much to his abusive, alcoholic father’s displeasure.

Lydia comes from a loving upper-middle-class family and runs a popular fashion blog that’s part Tavi Gevinson, part Angela Chase, and part Dolly Parton. She’s actively plotting her escape from rural Tennessee for bigger and better things, to capitalize on her Internet fame. This will mean leaving behind Dill—whose feelings for her run deep.

But that’s not Dill’s only problem. He has a cursed name. His grandfather, Dillard Early, became consumed with slaughtering snakes in grief and vengeance after one killed his daughter. He wore their skins pinned to his clothes during his descent into darkness. The whispering and staring locals called him “the Serpent King” before he committed suicide by poison. Dill’s father, also named Dillard Early, was the pastor of Dill’s church, whose parishioners handled serpents and drank poison as signs of faith.

Caught between his mother’s pulling him to drop out of school to help pay off the family debts and Lydia’s pushing him to go to college to escape Forrestville’s whispers and stares, Dill is quickly approaching a reckoning. One that will force him to confront the legacy of darkness—serpents and poison and self-destruction—that is his inheritance.

There are some weaknesses, predictability and some unrealistic elements you might expect in a debut novel, but overall, they are flaws I can live with. It is sad and funny and captures the ups and downs of living life in the goldfish bowl of a small town.

 

 

The Nameless City

15 May

Unknown

Faith Erin Hicks is back with a new book that is perfect for upper elementary school age readers. The Nameless City is the first is a series from First Second.

Publisher’s Summary:Every nation that invades the City gives it a new name. But before long, new invaders arrive and the City changes hands once again. The natives don’t let themselves get caught up in the unending wars. To them, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders.

Kaidu is one such outsider. He’s a Dao born and bred–a member of the latest occupying nation. Rat is a native of the Nameless City. At first, she hates Kai for everything he stands for, but his love of his new home may be the one thing that can bring these two unlikely friends together. Let’s hope so, because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands.

images

The book is thoughtful without being duo, letting readers see both sides of the occupation story. It is also full of action. Rat and Kaidu develop their friendship while running over the roofs and through the streets of the Nameless City. As they run, Kaidu sees the dark truths of the occupation that his Dao leaders keep hidden and Rat struggles to make sense of a friendship with a boy, whose people killed her parents.

This exciting graphic novel is the first on a trilogy.

Pioneering Spirit

13 May

I’m in Hood River this weekend, staying at the historic Hood River Hotel, built in 1911.

Unknown

My room, which has a four-poster bed, overlooks the Mount Hood Railway and the Columbia River. This morning, I watched the sun rise over the hills on the other side of the river. It gets me thinking of the Lewis and Clark expedition traveling down the river and pioneers making their way to Oregon. Hood River is the heart or Oregon’s orchard industry and I am especially enjoying being here because I just finished reading Tracy Chevalier’s At the Edge of the Orchard. The story of a pioneering family is told in alternating voices and  moves back and forth in time between the Black Swamp of northeastern Ohio to California’s redwood forests.

Unknown-1

Publisher’s Summary: 1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck – in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life.

1853: Their youngest child Robert is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert’s past makes an unexpected appearance he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.

Of dogs and adventure

11 May

Fiona went to the Bridge 6 months ago today.

Fiona_4thGotchaDay

I don’t cry any more, but I still miss her. Sometimes I call Lucy by the wrong name, or nickname. Not often, but it is the little things that make me remember. Lucy gets a lot more attention these days and I worry about her welfare. She has a better life than many people in the world.

That’s why Dan Gemeinhart’s The Honest Truth  made me so angry.

Unknown

Mark, the main character is sick and runs away from home with his dog. He is a hard kid to like because of his anger, but it is his reckless endangerment of his dog that had me throwing the book across the room. I almost didn’t finish it because I was terrified about his dog’s welfare. Fortunately, Mark learns the lesson he needs to learn and that made persevering to the end worthwhile, but it was really touch and go for a while. Honestly, the dog was my favorite character.

Unknown-1

Publisher’s Summary:In all the ways that matter, Mark is a normal kid. He’s got a dog named Beau and a best friend, Jessie. He likes to take photos and write haiku poems in his notebook. He dreams of climbing a mountain one day. But in one important way, Mark is not like other kids at all. Mark is sick. The kind of sick that means hospitals. And treatments. The kind of sick some people never get better from.

So Mark runs away. He leaves home with his camera, his notebook, his dog, and a plan to reach the top of Mount Rainier — even if it’s the last thing he ever does.

The Honest Truth  is a 2017 OBOB book, which is why I am reading it. I’ve started my prep for next year’s OBOB season. I also have an arc of his newer book, Some Kind of Courage, which came out in January. I hope I like that main character better.

Three cheers for basset hounds!

10 May

On a Thursday about wo weeks ago, Oregon Basset Hound Rescue received this request and our adoption coordinator sent it out to the volunteers.

Hello,
My name is L*** and I’m emailing for an old man I met who has 4 Bassett
hounds 3 of whom need homes. The man’s health has declined and he needs to
move from his home to a place more suited to help him but he can’t until
these poor little babies find homes…These are beautiful dogs and I want to help them get a life they deserve.

There were 2 males, Barney and Buddy, and a female named Pearl who needed homes. I put on my OBHR superhero cape and went into action.

image3

Buddy, son of Pearl and Barney,  was about a year old and I had the perfect home for him. I had done a home visit in January for a woman who had an older dog and an adult basset mix and wanted a wanted a younger basset. We had a 1 year old boy available at the time and got several applications on him. I did two home visits for that dog, but they were second & third in line for that young fellow. I always tell people we mostly get older dogs, but, if they can be patient  a younger dog might come along. She was thrilled when I contacted her, excited at the prospect. Check, one dog taken care of.

I manage the Oregon Basset Hound Games Facebook page and our President asked me to post the dogs there to get word out quickly. Within a few hours, there were lots of comments, but two people messaged me. One was a person who had adopted from and fostered for us before. Check….a foster home in case we don’t get anyone else. Maybe a good home for Barney.

IMG_0090

The third was a woman who had lost a senior female in March and was especially interested in Pearl, who, at 4 or 5, had lived a hard life, giving birth to several litters.

IMG_0085

I told her our process and she had her adoption application filled out by the next day. I did the home visit the following Monday, where I met her current dog and looked around her home. Boom…three potential families.

I contacted the woman to let her know we had three candidates and worked out a time and place to make the exchange. They were out of town for a few days and lived 2 hours from Portland. One of the adopters had something on the next weekend. Finally, we settled on Saturday, May 7. The dogs had never been to a vet, and I don’t know what to expect, though the original owner said he got rabies vaccine from the feed store and did his own at home.  With no official records, we decided to make an appointment with our vet, get the three dogs microchipped and vaccinated, and give them a once over.

I thought, calling a week and a half ahead, we would have no problem getting an appointment. Of course, I was mistaken. Fortunately, I spoke directly the vet and she said we should just bring them in around noon and she would squeeze them in.

And so Saturday rolled around. I checked Friday to be sure everyone was still on board. You’d be surprised how often these things fall through. Once again, the odds were in my favor and everyone was still good to go.

When I got to the clinic, I met the angels who had contacted us in the parking lot and finally met the dogs. Oh, they were filthy and their nails were horrifically long. We waddled our way into the clinic and they put us in a room. It was about 1 p.m. Three people and three stinky dogs in a room.

IMG_0082

Barney was going to live with a family three hours east of Portland, so he went first. Pearl and Buddy mourned his departure. For dogs who had never lived in doors, they quickly learned the meaning of the door. He was back before too long, with ear cleaner and drops for a minor ear infection, and I texted his foster family. We’d arranged for them to arrive by two and both they and Barney were good to go by that time.

And then there were two.

Pearl and Buddy each got their turn. Pearl also had an ear infection and got cleaner and drops, but Buddy was in good health. I texted their new moms and they arrived by three. We spent some time in the room, talking over what the vet had said. And then, we all left.

Buddy’s mom sent me some photos Saturday evening. he was settling in nicely.

IMG_1291

Barney’s foster mom said he did well on the drive. We got him up on Petfinder today. This picture ought to get some action.

IMG_0092

Today I heard that Pearl is also settling in well. She was the one my heart went out to her. It was the day before Mother’s Day and I was breaking up her family. To top it all off, her mammary glands were so stretched, they almost dragged on the ground and she was in heat.  But she has a new home with a new mom and a lovely sister and the rest of her life to relax.

I’d spent three hours in that small room. I was exhausted, covered in dog hair and smelled like a kennel. When I got home, I threw my clothes in the washer, had a shower and then a nap. I slept like a baby.

 

 

My first book purchase

9 May

My parents didn’t read to me as a child. That is a fact, not a judgement. It wasn’t really the done thing. They did, however, take us to the library and encouraged us to read. After my sister and I had discovered Nancy Drew books, we were almost always allowed to buy one when we went to the mall.

But the first book I remember buying came from a scholastic order in Grade 1. Magnets and how to use them came with a small magnet taped in the back.

Unknown

It was a typical Scholastic book of the time: simple illustrations and three-color printing. But the magic was kindled. I remember walking in our rather large backyard, looking for things to test my magnet on.

Shortly after that, in December of grade 2, we moved away to Northern Ontario. I don’t think the magnet book made it on the trip north. I know the magnet was lost shortly after I got it, but the magnetic attraction between books and I has never been lost.

Literaryish Mothers

8 May

Heather Vogel Frederick is the local author of the Mother-Daughter Book Club series, which has its own Wikipedia page. The series of seven books, as you can surmise from the title, centers around a group of young girls and there mothers, who come together over books. The final book in the series, Mother-Daughter Book Camp  came out this week, just in time for Mother’s Day.

27204972

Spend one last summer with the Mother-Daughter Book Club at camp in this bittersweet conclusion to Heather Vogel Frederick’s beloved and bestselling series.

After so many summers together, Emma, Jess, Megan, Becca, and Cassidy are reunited for one final hurrah before they go their separate ways. The plan is to spend their summer as counselors at Camp Lovejoy in a scenic, remote corner of New Hampshire, but things get off to a rocky start when their young charges are stricken with a severe case of homesickness. Hopefully, a little bit of bibliotherapy will do the trick, as the girls bring their longstanding book club to camp.

But, it all started with the first book.

cvr9781416970798_9781416970798_lg

Even if Megan would rather be at the mall, Cassidy is late for hockey practice, Emma’s already read every book in existence, and Jess is missing her mother too much to care, the new book club is scheduled to meet every month.

But what begins as a mom-imposed ritual of reading Little Women soon helps four unlikely friends navigate the drama of middle school. From stolen journals, to secret crushes, to a fashion-fiasco first dance, the girls are up to their Wellie boots in drama. They can’t help but wonder: What would Jo March do?

Then came the second book, in which our heroines read Anne of Green Gables.

much-ado-about-anne-9781416982692_lg

This year the mothers have a big surprise in store for Emma, Jess, Cassidy, and Megan: They’ve invited snooty Becca Chadwick and her mother to join the book club!

But there are bigger problems when Jess finds out that her family may have to give up Half Moon Farm. In a year filled with skating parties, a disastrous mother-daughter camping trip, and a high-stakes fashion show, the girls realize that it’s only through working together — Becca included — that they can save Half Moon Farm.

The third book centers around Jean Webster’s classic Daddy-Long-Legs,  when the girls are in eighth grade.

cvr9781442408487_9781442408487_lg

Could the book club break up? When Jess is offered an anonymous scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, she’s not sure that leaving home — and her friends — is what she wants to do. Meanwhile Megan’s grandmother comes for a long visit and turns everything in the Wong household upside down; Emma crusades against her middle school’s new uniforms; and Cassidy finds out there’s a big change ahead for her family.

Inspired by Jess’s unexpected opportunity, the book club decides to read Jean Webster’s classic Daddy-Long-Legs, and there’s an added twist this year when they become pen pals with the girls in a book club in Wyoming. There’s plenty to write to their new friends about, from a prank-filled slumber party to a not-so-secret puppy — and even a surprise first kiss.

In book four, they take on Jane Austen.

514XY1pY21L.SX316

Right before the start of freshman year, Emma’s family unexpectedly moves to England. The book club members are stunned – but thanks to videoconferencing, they can still keep the club alive, and they decide to tackle Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice . And when the girls try to bring Emma home by starting a bake sale, it becomes a thriving business: Pies & Prejudice. But when the plan they cook up falls short, they are left wondering if their club will ever all be together again..

Book five reads like a Hallmark Christmas movie.

cvr9781442406865_9781442406865_lg

This Christmas season, join the girls of the mother-daughter book club for a variety of holiday-themed adventures! Becca, Megan, Emma, Cassidy and Jess have plenty of reading material to bring on their trips, too, because the book club is tackling the Betsy-Tacy series before their next meeting on New Year’s Eve.

But unfortunately, nothing goes quite as planned for any of the girls. On a Christmas cruise with their families, Megan and Becca fight over the dashing son of the ship’s captain. Cassidy and her family fly back to California to visit Cassidy’s sister Courtney… but when the West Coast causes homesickness for their former life in Laguna Beach, the family begins to question what state they should call home. And a disastrous sledding accident causes both Emma and Jess to completely change their holiday plans.

Between squabbles, injuries, and blizzards, everything seems to be going wrong. Will the girls be able to find their holiday spirit in time for Christmas?

Book six has a French flare.

51Am3TyCpJL.SX316

The book club says bon voyage to Concord and bonjour to France!

It’s a dream come true for Megan, who’s jet-setting to Paris for Fashion Week with Gigi. Meanwhile, back in Concord, Mrs. Wong decides to run for mayor, so Emma and Stewart team up to make her campaign a success. Jess and Cassidy are also hoping for victories, Jess in the a cappella finals with the MadriGals and Cassidy in the national hockey championships with her teammates. In the midst of it all, the girls – along with their Wyoming pen pals, who drop in for a visit over Spring Break – dive into Charlotte Bronte ‘s classic Jane Eyre. Some real life romance follows, as Becca may have found a Mr. Rochester of her own. And then there’s the matter of a certain wedding. The book club girls, their families, the British Berkeley brothers, and even Stinkerbelle will be attending the ceremony, which means there might be some bumps before the bride waltzes down the aisle….

Whether you are looking to start your own mother-daughter book club, or just want a fun series to read, these would be a great place to start.

 

Maybe a Newbery?

6 May

It is funny that two excellent books, both told in alternating stories and featuring  a fox in one of those stories, were released within a month of each other. Pax was released in February. Maybe a  Fox, written by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee was release in March, though I just read it this week.

Unknown

Oh my, this book is wonderful. It took me a couple of chapters to get into it and the book certainly didn’t go where I expected it to go, but this one has a Newbery feel to it.  Senna, the fox was my favorite, even though Jules is the real main character. This book certainly destined to be on some Best of 2016 lists.

Publisher’s Summary: Worlds collide in a spectacular way when Newbery and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt and Pulitzer Prize nominee and #1 New York Times bestseller Alison McGhee team up to create a fantastical, heartbreaking, and gorgeous tale about two sisters, a fox cub, and what happens when one of the sisters disappears forever.

Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they’d be identical twins if only they’d been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn’t such a fast—faster than fast—runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they’re not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens…and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that—like their mother—her sister is gone forever.

At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born—half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast—faster than fast—and she senses danger. She’s too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.

Writing in alternate voices—one Jules’s, the other the fox’s—Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee tell the searingly beautiful tale of one small family’s moment of heartbreak, a moment that unfolds into one that is epic, mythic, shimmering, and most of all, hopeful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st7OaBfSyA8

Winding down and gearing up

5 May

With only six and half weeks remaining, the school year is gearing down.There is still a lot to do to finish this one well, but my thoughts are straying to summer and the next school year. This will be the first time in 5 years I don’t have to move rooms or buildings. It is almost

Unknown

Just this week, the final 2016-17 OBOB book lists were published for all three divisions. The first three quarters were published earlier, but the last four titles were just announced. I am ordering my  book set and starting to think about a new Oregon Battle of the Books bulletin board. I’ve read a few of the titles already, have heard of a few of the others, but there are also a couple I’ve never heard of, making reading them exciting. I like to read the books over the summer, if I can, so I have them all done by the time OBOB season rolls around. I never know them to the degree the kids do, but I like to get the gist of the book, so I can talk intelligently about them.

Here is the 6-8 Division list:

Unknown-1

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

Unknown-2

Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen

Unknown-3

Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

Unknown-4

Dark Life by Kat Falls

Unknown-5

Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart

Unknown-6

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick

Unknown-7

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson

Unknown-8

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Unknown-9

The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

Unknown-10

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Unknown-11

The Menagerie by Tui T. and Kari Sutherland

Unknown-12

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Unknown-13

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper

Unknown-14

Unfriended by Rachel Vail

Unknown-15

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann

Unknown-16

Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi

Traffic Cop

3 May

Growing up, we had a piano, but lived in a town with no piano teacher. My dad bought us some books and lately I’ve been thinking about one of the songs from that red John Thompson’s First Grade Book.

  Unknown

 Unknown-1

The simple song goes like this:

Traffic Go, Traffic Stop!
All must heed the Traffic Cop!
When I’m grown, I shall be
Just as fine a cop as he!

It goes through my head everyday as I do the duty I signed up for this month at school. My job is to move cars along as parents drop their students off in the morning. It is, perhaps, the most fun duty I have ever had.

I love waving the cars along, especially the ones that want to drop their children right at the front door, holding up the giant queue behind them. I really want a set of the red signal cones that they use at the airport to guide the planes taxiing in and out of the gates.  I love urging the BMWs, and especially the Jaguar, to “Move along!” I feel so powerful.  I feel sad for the kids who get out of cars that smell like cigarettes and wonder, did my clothes reek of smoke as a kid?

What I especially like are the snippets of conversation I hear as kids get dropped off.

“Love you!”

“Why are you mad at me?”

“Don’t forget…bus this afternoon.”

It gives just a little more insight into the lives of the kids at my school and a nice reminder of just how young they are.

 

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

The Fat Squirrel Speaks

Knitting, spinning, and assorted awesomeness.

Global Yell Blog

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Jone Rush MacCulloch

Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit

Klickitat St. Readers

Just another WordPress.com site

Readerbuzz

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

PLUMDOG BLOG

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Gail Carriger

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Kate Messner

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Cybils Awards

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

Someday My Printz Will Come

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

Tundra Books

Home of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers and Friends

andrea gillespie

Inquiring My Way Forward

Kirby's Lane: A Place for Readers and Writers

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The Horn Book

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

The History Girls

A blog about children's & YA lit, with some basset news thrown in

%d bloggers like this: