I just found this blog via Geoff Rodkey, author of Deadweather and Sunrise and the sequel – just out- New Lands. Geoff has some oldies but goodies in this guest post and, the Nerdy Book Clubs awards list has current greats too.

Nerdy Book Club

Hello, Nerds! I’m Geoff Rodkey, author of the comedy-adventure-coming-of-age series The Chronicles of Egg and a big fan of the Book Club. When I got the chance to contribute a post, I was thrilled–and immediately spent the next several days meticulously crafting a 2,000-word essay about how Bridge to Terabithia scarred me for life.
I was convinced I’d written something truly special–poignant, heartfelt, existentially profound–until I showed it to my wife, who helpfully pointed out that it was actually turgid, boring, and painfully self-indulgent.
So I added my 2,000-word Bridge to Terabithia reminiscence to the unfortunately long list of Things That Seemed Like A Good Idea Until I Ran Them By My Wife and decided to take a different tack.
This is still a reminiscence, it’s still about books that meant a lot to me as a kid, and even though nobody dies in an emotionally devastating fashion in any…

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Susanna Kearsley: Curating CanLit

Susanna Kearsley, a favorite author of mine, makes interesting points on who makes decisions that form history- teachers pay attention. Your reading lists are more important than you may think.

Kon Tiki – An adventure like no other…

kon tiki in the sun

Kon Tiki:Across the Pacific on a Raft by Thor Heyerdahl is the most memorable adventure story ever.  It is available in mass market paperback and in older used hardback editions.

To be honest, it isn’t an easy read for a middle schooler but it is sooo worth it.  No modern navigational equipment, no communication, no safety vessel trailing behind them.

Six men, a balsa wood raft, a parrot named Lorita, and the wide wide Pacific Ocean. The reader will be gulping for air along side the crew through rogue waves and foul weather. The marine life they discover and encounter is carefully detailed.

I have an old hardback copy of this book with maps and photos. Each year, I am on the lookout for the student who I think would enjoy it most and I loan it to the student with the guarantee that it is the greatest adventure ever.  Every few years, I ask my colleagues if we can put it on the 7th grade booklist but in reality, it is too long and too difficult.  But I’ll keep trying.

Thor Heyerdahl’s faith in his theory, his bravery and even his leadership skills seem to be a rare thing these days which is why it is so important to read and reread his story.

This month there will be a limited release of the movie which is getting rave reviews.  It was filmed in Norway simultaneously in Norwegian and in English.  Below is a link to the Carpetbagger blog post about the making of the movie.


Movie Trailer:

YA Authors Gidwitz, Jobling, Rodkey, and West are on the Endangered Authors! Tour and it is Awesome!

A tale Darka nd GrimmwereworlddeadweatherBooks of Elsewhere

Books and Books, our community’s independent bookstore, works year round to bring authors into local schools. Last week we had the extraordinary pleasure of being part of The Endangered Authors! Tour.

The game show style presentation involved four talented YA authors: Adam Gidwitz, Curtis Jobling, Geoff Rodkey, and Jacqueline West.  All four have their own take on “creepy” and were well matched. Penguin Young Readers Group, with the help of the Story Pirates, created an interactive presentation that required teams of students to save their author from a terrible fate.

Forty of our students, divided into teams, read a book by one of the authors. The students had a few weeks to read the book independently and then were given classroom space before school for team meetings. Students reviewed the book and created any props they wanted to bring to the contest.

On the day of the event, there were 200 students in the audience and the teams representing each author.  Many children never have the opportunity to meet one author and our students were meeting four!  Actor Peter McNerney hosted the game show. He was masterful at managing the middle school age group and hysterically funny – not an easy balance to obtain.  Each author had time to share information about themselves and their writing before the teams answered questions about their books. Fortunately, the groups were well prepared and all of the authors lived to write another day.

For students and teachers, author visits are like meeting an old friend and a rock star simultaneously.  There’s an reader-author connection because of our love of the novel- a sense already knowing the writer and- a sense of awe in finally getting to shake hands with them.

Before and after the show, Adam, Curtis, Geoff and Jacqueline talked with the teams, took pictures and inspired many children to read for pleasure and develop their hobbies. After all, that’s what they did; and look how well it turned out for them!

I am including the author websites below.  They are touring until the end of April and, if they aren’t in your town, follow their adventures on their websites or “Like” their Facebooks pages so you can keep up with them. And, of course, read their highly entertaining novels- they are a sure thing!

Adam Gidwitz            www.adamgidwitz.com

Curtis Jobling             http://www.wereworldbooks.com

Geoff Rodkey             www.geoffrodkey.com

Jacqueline West        www.jacquelinewest.com

If you are in the Miami area, Books and Books in Coral Gables has autographed copies of the novels.  Be sure to “Like” Books and Books on Facebook to be alerted about upcoming YA author events at all of their locations.