Tag Archives: deborah hopkinson

A book to die for

13 Jun

I am currently lost in Tudor England, deep in the depths of Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VII Tell All by M.T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, and Deborah Hopkinson

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Publisher’s Summary: He was King Henry VIII, a charismatic and extravagant ruler obsessed with both his power as king and with siring a male heir.

They were his queens–six ill-fated women, each bound for divorce, or beheading, or death.

Watch spellbound as each of Henry’s wives attempts to survive their unpredictable king and his power-hungry court. See the sword flash as fiery Anne Boleyn is beheaded for adultery. Follow Jane Seymour as she rises from bullied court maiden to beloved queen, only to die after giving birth. Feel Catherine Howard’s terror as old lovers resurface and whisper vicious rumors to Henry’s influential advisors. Experience the heartache of mothers as they lose son after son, heir after heir.

Told in stirring first-person accounts, Fatal Throne is at once provocative and heartbreaking, an epic tale that is also an intimate look at the royalty of the most perilous times in English history.

Who’s Who: 

M. T. Anderson – Henry VIII
Candace Fleming – Katharine of Aragon
Stephanie Hemphill – Anne Boleyn
Lisa Ann Sandell – Jane Seymour
Jennifer Donnelly – Anna of Cleves
Linda Sue Park – Catherine Howard
Deborah Hopkinson – Kateryn Parr

First, what a collection of fabulous authors!

What I really want to tell you is why I am so smitten (obsessed) with this book. Each author writes about their character in chronological order, with a few scenes that overlap. They write so well, you can’t help feeling sympathy for the character. Then, when the character changes, you see things from another perspective and fall under the influence of the new character. It really shows you the power that the person you listen to can have over your opinions. A good lesson for our time taught through history.

Because each character has a different author, their voices are truly unique.

Even though I am pretty familiar with these stories, this format gave me an opportunity to re-engage with them in a whole new way.

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2017 Oregon Book Award finalists

12 Jan

The 2017 Oregon Book Award finalists were announced this week.

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The Oregon Book Award winners will be announced at the 30th annual Oregon Book Awards ceremony on Monday, April 24 at the Gerding Theater at the Armory. You can read the complete list of finalists here. The Children’s & YA Lit finalists are listed below.

ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Judge: Mac Barnett

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Kate Berube of Portland, Hannah and Sugar (Abrams Books for Young Readers)

 

 

 

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Cathy Camper of Portland, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Chronicle Books)

 

 

 

 

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Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, Steamboat School (Disney * Hyperion)

 

 

 

 

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Kathleen Lane of Portland, The Best Worst Thing (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

 

 

 

 

 

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Cynthia Rylant of Portland, The Otter (Beach Lane Books)

 

 

 

 

 

 

LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Judge: Malinda Lo

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Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark (Scholastic)

 

 

 
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Amber J. Keyser of Bend, The Way Back from Broken (Carolrhoda LAB)

 

 

 

 

 

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David Levine of Portland, Arabella of Mars (Tor)

 

 

 

 
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Eliot Treichel of Eugene, A Series of Small Maneuvers (Ooligan Press)

How The Other Half Lives

1 Dec

Deborah Hopkinson’s newest middle grade novel tells the story of a young immigrant’s life in America.

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Publisher’s Summary:Eleven-year-old Rocco is an Italian immigrant who finds himself alone in New York City after he’s sold to a padrone by his poverty-stricken parents. While working as a street musician, he meets the boys of the infamous Bandits’ Roost, who teach him the art of pickpocketing. Rocco embraces his new life of crime—he’s good at it, and it’s more lucrative than banging a triangle on the street corner. But when he meets Meddlin’ Mary, a strong-hearted Irish girl who’s determined to help the horses of New York City, things begin to change. Rocco begins to reexamine his life—and take his future into his own hands.

Like Eel in The Great Trouble, Rocco is a likable character who sheds light on the time in which he lives. I’ve seen pictures of tenement life, but Rocco works with Jacob Riis, the man who took these photos he made famous in his book How The Other Half Lives.

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Baxter Street Court, in the Five Points slums of New York in 1895, as photographed by Jacob Riis or one of his four uncredited assistants.

In fact, Rocco is instrumental in helping Riis take one of his most famous photos, Bandit’s Roost.

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Rocco’s story is full of ups and downs. Fortunately it has a realistic, but happy ending.

 

 

What I’m Reading Now…mostly

21 Jan

Although I’ve been free range reading a bit in these post Morris Committee days, I still have some required reading.

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I am a round 2 judge in the CYBILS YA Nonfiction category. Fortunately, as a round 2 judge I only have to read the finalists the round 1 judges selected. And these are what I am (mostly) reading these days.

Unknown-1I Will Always Write Back: How One letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

Symphony for the CitySymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson

UnknownTommy: The Gun That Changed America by Karen Blumenthal

Unknown-2Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson

Unknown-4Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle and Michael G. Long

Unknown-3Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World by Kathy Lowinger

Most DangerousMost Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

…Hello 2016

1 Jan

Lucy and I welcomed the New Year, snuggled in bed.

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Before falling asleep, she told me that her 2016 resolution was to refrain from sleeping in the middle of the bed to give me more room. I hope she keeps it!

She wasn’t feeling very well last night, and I am now in debate mode: do I take her to the emergency vet or wait until tomorrow to see my regular vet? I wish she could tell me what is wrong.

I am especially worried because, one week from today, I am off to the ALA’s 2016 Midwinter meeting in Boston and I don’t want to worry about Lucy being unwell while I am gone. I am excited about the events I am scheduled to attend. I don’t anticipating having to ship home another box like I did at the Annual meeting.

Today also marks the official start of my second year as a round 2 CYBILs judge for YA Nonfiction.

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The announcement of the finalists in all categories has been made and I can now tell you that the finalists I will be reading are

Symphony for the City Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad by M. T. Anderson

Most DangerousMost Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

Unknown-1 I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda with Liz Welch

UnknownTommy: The Gun That Changed America by Karen Blumenthal

Unknown-2Courage and Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson

Unknown-3Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World by Kathy Lowinger

Unknown-4Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Houtman, Walter Naegle and Michael G. Long

 

Happy I Love Yarn Day!

17 Oct

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It is a rainy Saturday in Portland, a hot bed of knitting, so it is a perfect place to celebrate I Love Yarn Day. I have several yarns stashes around my house, but this is my display stash

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Literature’s most famous knitter is probably Madame Defarge   from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

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There are other books where knitting plays an important role. The first that comes to mind is Knit Your Bit  by Portland’s own Deborah Hopkinson.

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I met Deborah at the 2013 Rose City Yarn Crawl and got my copy signed.

Publisher’s Summary: Mikey’s dad has left home to fight overseas during World War I, and Mikey wants to do something BIG to help. When his teacher suggests that the class participate in a knitting bee in Central Park to knit clothing for the troops, Mikey and his friends roll their eyes—knitting is for girls! But when the girls turn it into a competition, the boys just have to meet the challenge.
Based on a real “Knit-In” event at Central Park in 1918, Knit Your Bit shows readers that making a lasting contribution is as easy as trying something new!

Older readers will enjoy Boys Don’t Knit by T. E. Easton.

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Publisher’s Summary: After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.

He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) with the impression that it’s taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.

Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to discover he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It also helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.

Last Saturday, I started my Christmas knitting. I can’t post a picture in case the recipient sees this post. Just know, I will be celebration I Love Yarn Day in a very appropriate manner.

Germ warfare

13 Sep

September means exposure to back-to-school contagions. That’s why most schools now include had sanitizer on their supply lists. That’s why new teachers get sick so often. I taught at my last school for 12 years and for the last few, I didn’t even get a cold. I knew those germs intimately and had developed a good system of defense. Now that I’m at a new school, I’m being extra cautious, taking more precautions that usual to keep myself healthy, although I think the problem is less severe at a middle school that it is in an elementary school. I hope I’m not carrying new germs into my new school community, either. I;d hate to be a Typhoid Mary.

Yes, poor Mary Mallon, who has gone down in history as Typhoid Mary, or Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America  which is how Susan Campbell Bartoletti refers to Mary in her recently published book.

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Publisher’s Summary:This is the story of a cook – a quiet, diligent cook who kept to herself. Her speciality was homemade ice cream topped with fresh peaches, which she served on hot summer days. She worked for some of the wealthiest families in New York, who spoke highly of her skills.

In August 1906, when six members of one household nearly died, the cook mysteriously disappeared – and the hunt for Typhoid Mary began. The resulting story became a tabloid scandal. But the true story of Mary Mallon is far greater than the sensationalized and fear-mongering stories. It’s also a lesser known story of human and civil rights violations. How did this private and obscure domestic cook become one of the most notorious women in American history? What happens to a person whose name and reputation are forever damaged? And who is responsible for the lasting legacy of the woman who became known as Typhoid Mary?

There is not a lot of documentary evidence of Mary Mallon’s life, so the book is as much a narrative of hygiene and social customs at the time Mary lived. Because of this, Bartoletti has to create an idea of what could have happened by using words such as “probably”, “perhaps”, “may have”, etc. In spite of this, I found this a very interesting read, and would be great nonfiction companion to Deborah Hopkinson’s The Great Trouble (about  a cholera plague in London) and  Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever, 1783 ( a Yellow Fever outbreak in Philadelphia).

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