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A little YA historical fantasy this time

16 May

I make no secret that I love historical fiction.

Julie Berry’s newest novel, Lovely War, mixes two love stories set during the First World War with Greek mythology to come up with an amazing story.

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Publisher’s Summary: They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.

 

It might sound impossible to mix the two stories, but in doing so, Berry turns a good love story into something so much better.

I listened to the audiobook and it was fabulous. Whether you read the print version or listen to the audiobook, you will not be disappointed.

What is it about YA historical fiction?

13 May

There is a belief in publishing that historical fiction doesn’t sell in YA. When I look at my classroom library, I can see that my historical fiction section clearly has significantly more middle grade then YA.

Over the weekend, I finished Someday We will Fly  by Rachel DeWoskin, a work of YA historical fiction that shed light on a little know piece of history.

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I knew that many people had fled Russia during the Revolution, travelling through Siberia to take refuge in China. Shanghai became a refuge for many from Europe and that’s what this story is about.

Why didn’t I know about the Jews who fled to Japanese occupied Shanghai? Or the way in which the Japanese and Germans worked to ghettoize them after the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

I will say that I was slow to warm up to this book. The beginning is a lot of telling, rather than showing what is going on. I can see that it built background and helped get us and the characters to Shanghai, where the bulk of the story takes place, but it was a bit of a slog. If I hadn’t been interested in the topic, I don’t know that I would have persevered to the end.

Publisher’s Summary:

Guest blogging at The Hub today

6 May

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I am the guest blogger at YALSA’s The Hub today, where, inspired by the movie Bohemian Rhapsody,  I tackle that age old question, “What Would Brian May Read?”

In this post, I talk about fiction and non-fiction, and how much Brian May looks like Isaac Newton. You can read that post by clicking here.

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Guest blogging at The Hub today

15 Apr

I am guest blogging at The Hub today. You can read my article about graphic adaptations of classics by clicking HERE. While you are there, check out the other interesting things people are writing about books and libraries for teens.

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#alamw19- Day 3 – Food!

28 Jan

Sunday was an eat-a-thon.

My day started at 8 with a breakfast with Kokila Books, a new Penguin imprint.

download.jpgVice President and Publisher,Namrata Tripathi, told the story of the imprint and introduced us to some of the first books they will publish, one of which is by Celia C. Pérez. You might know her as the author of The First Rule of Punk. She introduced us to her upcoming book Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers.

 

 

Next came a brunch with Scholastic, where they introduced us to three upcoming picture books.

As soon as the Scholastic event ended I was off to my first lunch with Abrams where they previewed the books coming in the spring. These ranged from a  new picture book by Peter H. Reynolds to Cat Winter’s newest  YA novel.

I dashed uphill to another lunch with Boyd’s Mill. I arrived late, but I got to chat with the publishers who gave me an ARC  of Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes.

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After all that eating and running around, I needed to refresh myself took a little break back in the hotel.

My final event of the evening was a celebration with Kwame Alexander and these Versify authors.

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I made an early night of it, packing my bag and getting to bed at a decent hour. The Youth Media Awards begin at 8 am PST and I will be taking the train back to Portland later in the afternoon, After the Norris Nonfiction Celebration.  Don’t forget, you can live stream the Youth Media Awards.

 

The 2019 Oregon Book Award Finalists

23 Jan
The Oregon Book Award finalists were just announced. The award honors the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in the genres of poetry, fiction, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers.
The Oregon Book Award winners will be announced at the 32nd annual Oregon Book Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 22 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory. Cheryl Strayed will host the ceremony.
Here are the finalists for Children’s and YA Literature
ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Judges: Ashyln Anstee, Ben Clanton, Linda Marshall
Kate Berube of Portland, Mae’s First Day of School (Abrams Books)
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Barbara Herkert of Newport, A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White (Henry Holt and Co. )
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Michelle Roehm McCann of Portland, More Girls Who Rocked the World (Aladdin/Beyond Words)
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Emily Whitman of Portland , The Turning (Greenwillow Books)
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Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen (Balzer & Bray)
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LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Judges:  Donna Freitas, Ashley Pérez, Kathryn Reiss
Shea Ernshaw of Bend, The Wicked Deep (Simon & Schuster)
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Fonda Lee of Portland, Cross Fire: An Exo Novel (Scholastic Press)
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Shelley Pearson of Portland, Book Smarts & Tender Hearts  (Ingram Spark)
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Emily Suvada of Portland, This Mortal Coil (Simon & Schuster)
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Transmutation

17 Jan

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When one thinks of  transmutation, alchemists turning lead into gold is the natural first example that comes to mind. Rumpelstiltskin is a classic fairy tale that involves the transmutation of straw into gold. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Island of Dr. Moreau are all 19th century novels that look into human transmutation. The results are always disastrous.

In The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter,  by Theodora Goss, we see a transmutation of a different sort. Goss has transmuted these stories, plus the less well-known Rappaccini’s Daughter, into a wonderful tale that also involves the greatest detective of the time: Sherlock Holmes. The result is a delight to read.

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Publisher’s Summary: Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture…a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

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