Tag Archives: A. S. King

This week’s book talks 11/30-12/1

1 Dec

Monday: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

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Tuesday: Unfriended  by Rachel Vail

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Wednesday:  The Apothecary by Maile Meloy

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Thursday: The Great Greene Heist  by Varian Johnson

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Friday: Me and Marvin Gardens  by A. S. King

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A really good book day

3 May

Not one but two author visits yesterday…along with some author spotting.

It all started with Victoria Jamieson’s visit to my school.

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I managed to sign up the day the email went out and was able to bring my whole class. She spoke a lot about how she wrote her graphic novel, Roller Girl,  which I can’t keep on the shelves of my classroom library. At the end of her presentation, she gave us some drawing tips and took questions.IMG_0663

The girl beside me looked like she wanted to ask something but didn’t know what to ask, so I whispered, “Ask what she is working on now.” She did and her face glowed when Victoria said, “Great question!” and proceeded to show us the galley of her newest graphic novel, full of sticky notes marking the corrections she has to make.

I went through the rest of my day, thinking about how I can now draw more expressive faces and happy in the knowledge that, that evening, I was going to see A. S. King.

Her visit was courtesy of Multnomah County Library and took place in the lovely Taborspace, not too far from my home.

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She started off by reading from Still Life With Tornado, then went on to make us laugh, cry and laugh some more. She is always a treat to see in person. I got a signed copy of Me and Marvin Gardens  for my personal library. My classroom already has a copy and it doesn’t stay on my shelves much either. She has another middle grade novel coming out in 2019, and I am excited about that, though sad I will have to wait.

The audience was small, but cozy, scattered as we were at cafe tables or in cozy arm chairs. The funny thing was, there were local authors in the audience. I recognized Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer and the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series) the moment she walked in by her highly recognizable pink hair. Cathy Camper (Lowriders series), one of the MCL librarians responsible for the event, was there. Rosanne Parry (Heart of a Shepherd, Turn of the Tide)  came too. Her middle grade novel, Turn of the Tide, is one of next year’s OBOB books for the 6-8 division.

All in all, it was a really great book day.

 

Last Week’s Book Talks- 2/6-10

12 Feb

I started Monday with the book I missed last week:

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This week, I worked my first five-day week since the middle of November! Here are the other books I talked about:

Monday, I did a two-fer:

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Wednesday was rough, so I went for some humor:

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Thursday, I finished Me & Marvin Gardens and was excited to share it.

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Nonfiction Friday rounded out the week and we talked a little bit about introverts and extroverts.

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AS goes MG

10 Feb

I have made no secret of the fact that I love A. S. King. I will read (and probably buy) anything she writes. Unfortunately, I cannot put her books in my 6th grade classroom library. Until now.

Yes, Amy Sarig King has written a novel for middle grade readers!!!!

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Like her books for older readers, there is a fantasy element. yes,let’s call it that. The eponymous Marvin Gardens is a plastic eating creature that resembles a cross between a dog and a pig…with amphibian-like skin.

I book talked it yesterday, reading aloud the part about Marvin’s first poop – sixth graders still love that sort of thing – and I had them hooked. I told them about Obe’s problems with his friends, with Marvin, and with his neighborhood; problems they can all relate to. I’m hoping this one won’t spend much time on my shelves.

Publisher’s Summary: Obe Devlin has problems. His family’s farmland has been taken over by developers. His best friend Tommy abandoned him for the development kids. And he keeps getting nosebleeds, because of that thing he doesn’t like to talk about. So Obe hangs out at the creek by his house, in the last wild patch left, picking up litter and looking for animal tracks.

One day, he sees a creature that looks kind of like a large dog, or maybe a small boar. And as he watches it, he realizes it eats plastic. Only plastic. Water bottles, shopping bags… No one has ever seen a creature like this before, because there’s never been a creature like this before. The animal — Marvin Gardens — soon becomes Obe’s best friend and biggest secret. But to keep him safe from the developers and Tommy and his friends, Obe must make a decision that might change everything.

In her most personal novel yet, Printz Honor Award winner Amy Sarig King tells the story of a friendship that could actually save the world.

Teens in crisis

13 Jan

Another day off due to snow. Yes, the downside is that we will have to make them up in June. The upside is that I am well-rested. I have read a lot,  finished a knitting project, and my grading is complete and up to date.  Go me!

In one of the essays I graded, a reflective letter to an author for the Library of Congress’ Letters About Literature contest, a girl reflected on child abuse.

Ever since I was young, I have never presumed that child abuse was a real thing, that happened in day-to-day life. I always knew of the concept, and that some kids got slapped, or spanked, or smacked, but I never believed that anything as serious as what Carley experiences goes on.

She was writing about Linda Mullaly Hunt’s  One For the Murphys. 

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Those are the words of a 12-year-old, but it gets to the heart of the matter. Family violence is a secret hidden by its victims.

A. S. King delves into this in her latest novel, Still Life With Tornado.

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Publisher’s Summary:Sixteen-year-old Sarah can’t draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has “done the art.” She thinks she’s having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she’s finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can’t quite recall. After decades of staying together “for the kids” and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah’s parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.

I am an unabashed A. S. King fan, and I think this one is brilliant.

Some good literary dads

19 Jun

This is my first Father’s Day without my dad. I had thought about writing a post about bad dad, but I’m feeling a little melancholy, so I decided to think of some of my favorite dads. They might not be perfect, but they are pretty good.

First, one of all there is Mr. Weasley.

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Although he is the sort of dad who can be a bit embarrassing in public, he is a great support to his children, and to those he treats as his children.

Vera Dietz, from A. S King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz  is another supportive dad.

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Chapters titled A Brief Word from Ken Dietz  are surprising, heartfelt, and tragic. Vera and ken;s relationship isn’t perfect, but he is trying, and that counts for something.

Although Matthew Cuthbert is Anne’s real father, he loves her unconditionally.

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If you haven’t seen Richard Farnsworth’s portrayal of Matthew  in the 1985 Canadian miniseries Anne of Green Gables you should. But be sure to have a hanky handy.

Finally, let me add Mr. Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice,  who might have one of the best lines in literature. Here it is in a clip from the 2005 movie version, starring Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennet.

I heart A. S. King!

23 Jul

One of my big scores at the ALA conference was an arc of A. S. King’s new novel  I Crawl Through It.

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This is what I will be up to today. Crawling through its pages and loving every minute of it. It’s received a number of starred reviews already, from VOYA, Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Here’s what all the buzz is about:

Publisher’s Summary: Four teenagers are on the verge of exploding. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of past trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope, but no one is listening.

So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will even build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away…but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.

The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience-and find the way out.

Andrew Smith said “I Crawl Through It proves that A.S. King is one of the most innovative and talented novelists of our time. This is King’s masterpiece–a brilliant, paranoid, poetic, funny, and at times overwhelmingly sad literary cocktail of absinthe and Adderall. What a trip!”

Today is going to be an excellent day.

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Glorious Glory O’Brien

15 Oct

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I drove directly to a bookstore yesterday to pick my copy of A. S. King’s Glory O’Brien’s History of the World, which was finally out. I’d been counting down the days. several times throughout the day I checked online to see if my favorite independent bookseller had  it, and was dismayed to see that they only had it in a warehouse. Shock and disappointment. So, I went to a chain bookstore,which is sort of on my way home, because when I checked on-line it said they had it in stock & on the shelves.  When I got there it wasn’t. Teen-aged me would have been to shy to ask, but almost 50-year-old me had no qualms about asking for help. Sure enough it was on the shelves, but in the “O’s” for “O’Brien” and not int he “K’s” for “King”.  If you look at the cover you can see how someone could make that error, but really, if they thought about it for a moment longer they’d have figured out that Glory O’Brien is not the author.

I made it halfway through last night. I could have finished it, but I need my beauty rest in order to teach well.  So far, I ma not disappointed. On the eve of her high school graduation, Glory O’Brien develops the ability to look at a person and see their history (going back many generations) and their future (going forward several generations). The future she sees is a disturbing one in which second American Civil War occurs and half the country takes away a woman’s right to work.  She is also trying to discover details about her mother, who committed suicide when Glory was 4.  I can’t wait to get home tonight and finish it and I will stay up as late as I have to in order to do so. I never exactly know where an A. S. King novel will take me, but I know Glory is going to have to do something with the information she’s been given.

 

 

 

My favorite books of 2013

31 Dec

Although I still have a stack of books to read, here are my 2013 favorites so far:

Picture Books (Fiction)

UnknownThe Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

UnknownThe Mighty Lalouche byMatthew Olshan

Unknown-2Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

UnknownUnicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Picture Books (Non-Fiction)

UnknownHoop Genius: How a Desperate teacher and a rowdy Gym Class Invented Basketball by John Coy

Unknown-1On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne

Chapter Books 

UnknownThe Center of Everything by Linda Urban

UnknownCounting by 7’s by Molly Golberg Sloan

UnknownFlora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

UnknownThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathy Appelt

Unknown-1The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Graphic Novels

UnknownBluffton by Matt Phelan

UnknownOdd Duck by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon

UnknownRelish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley

YA Lit

Unknown-1Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

UnknownReality Boy by A. S. King

imagesA Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

UnknownWinger by Andrew Smith

UnknownYaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Adult Lit

UnknownLoteria by Mario Alberto Zambrano

Unknown-1The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

What are your demands?

21 Oct

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Did I mention I got an autographed ARC at my conference? Reality Boy  comes out tomorrow, October 22nd. You should go get it.A. S. King takes a damaged kid with a broken family and  lays it bare in her  raw  and edgy way. The story is incredibly heart-breaking.

Gerald was the star of a reality TV nanny series, famous for pooping in inappropriate places. No one listened to him then and now, no one sees him as he really is. What makes this terrible story beautiful is Gerald’s awakening. When things get hard, he disappears to a fantasy world he calls Gersday (rhymes with daresday), where he eats strawberry ice-cream and Snow White is his guidance counselor.  As he gets to know Hannah, a girl he works with at his afterschool concession stand job, he struggles with trying to make his first true friend, and perhaps girlfriend, and what that means if he truly opens up to someone. As he approaches his 17th birthday he realizes he has demands and needs to voice them if he is ever going to survive.

A powerful, beautiful novel.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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