Carver Kids’ Choice Awards

Carver Kids’ Choice Awards

7th Graders, here’s your chance to weigh-in on our reading list.  


YA is the Way to Go at the End of the School Year

Wednesday Wars  Okay for Now        I'll be there Just Call My Name       Red Kayak The journey Back

The fourth nine weeks reading list for our Seventh Graders is a YA Marathon. The students read Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt, I’ll be There Holly Goldberg Sloan and Red Kayak by Pricilla Cummings.  Our students, overloaded with standardized tests and infected with Spring Fever devour these three action-packed novels at the time of year when kids and teachers alike are white knuckling it until June.

Inevitably students want to know what happens to each of the protagonists and I have the pleasure of sharing the good news.

Red Kayak has the sequel The Journey Back that follows up on Brady’s friend Digger. It is now available in paperback and eBook. Heartbreak and redemption- kind of.

 Wednesday Wars has the companion novel Okay for Now that picks up the story of a minor character and expands it. It is available in paperback and eBook. Funny stuff!

I’ll be There has a sequel coming out August 5th entitled Just Call My Name. It is available for preorder. Adventure, suspense and romance! Woo Hoo!

The YA Marathon has been a success for everyone. Students get about 700 pages of highly engaging reading under their belts with few complaints. In turn, teachers are rejuvenated by the students’ enthusiasm so late in the school year.  Kind of.:-)


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  

Curtis Jobling   

Geoff Rodkey   

Jacqueline West

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.

Interview with Jeff Erno, author of YA LGBT Literature

Interview with Jeff Erno, author of YA LGBT Literature

On my Facebook page I posted information on Erno’s recently released book You Belong With Me.  I  throughly enjoyed the book- it’s a sweet love story with a happy ending- my favorite kind.  I  love the book even more now that I’ve read this author interview. He is a man with a mission to write positive, supportive LGBT YA literature, and that is exactly what teens need.

“Saying Good Bye” – a blog posting by Caroline Clooney

“Saying Good Bye” – a blog posting by Caroline Clooney

Caroline Clooney has authored 91 YA novels and is  true inspiration to all  YA writers.  This blog post is about her book A Face on the Milk Carton and its sequels.  Last year I had to buy several copies of these novels to meet the high demand.  Clooney is prolific and diverse in subject matter so there is always a book that will interest every type of reader.

Middle grades literature to get its own designation on the New York Times Bestseller List.

This is copied and reposted from the link below>


The New York Times Bestseller List Will Now Separate YA and Middle Grade Titles!

by Lee Wind

As reported in publisher’s lunch, The New York Times will now “…split its children’s Chapter book bestseller lists into separate middle grade and young adult lists…”Here’s a screen shot (courtesy of Author John Green’s tumbler) of the YA and middle grade lists:

Both lists, including the series bestseller lists, will include ebook sales, while the picture book bestsellers list will continue to report hardcover unit sales only.

This means ten more MG and YA books get to be on the New York Times bestseller list every week, which can only be good for all of us who create MG and YA books!  (And it’s good for readers, too – as they get more information about the age category they’re interested in.)

Suzanne Fisher Staples has a new book out..and you can read it on her website! How cool is that?

Suzanne Fisher Staples has a new book out.  In addition to purchasing it out right from a store, readers can read it on her website. She began posting it two chapters per week. Chapters 1-6 are there with more to … Continue reading

School days, schools days… we are two weeks in and have already had a “hurricane day”…

School days, schools days… we are two weeks in and have already had a “hurricane day”…  You would think that would mean that I have a book recommendation ready, should have a book recommendation ready but, I have picked up several books and am reading them all at one time.

I should feel very productive but it only reinforces my thinking that I can’t really multi-task, it sounds good but ultimately means that I never finish anything I start.   So, I say all of this to ask you to please hang on and I’ll have something for you soon.

I will leave you with this informal survey of 100 language arts students:

THE Favorite Book on the required 7th grade summer reading list: Peak by Roland Smith.  It is an Everest adventure story with a heart warming ending.  🙂

An Everglades Adventure Story

Lost in the River of Grass

By Ginny Rorby

Carolrhoda Books

Paperback and ebook

Ginny Rorby’s book Lost in a River of Grass is a adventure story highlighting one of the most strangely beautiful places in the world: the Florida Everglades. At first, the Everglades appear to be a barren grassland for as far as the eye can see. They are, however, home to beautiful birds of all sizes and colors, small creatures that make their home in the waters that surround the sawgrass, dangerous animals like the Florida Panther and, of course, alligators.

Sarah, a 13 year-old, accompanies her science teacher and classmates on a weekend trip to the Everglades even though she is well aware that she is the outsider of the group. Sarah has a swimming scholarship at an expensive private school where her mother works in the cafeteria. She is avoided or made fun of by the girls on the trip and is befriended by Andy, 15, somewhat of an Everglades local.

Sarah pretends to be sick to avoid the daytrip with her class so that she can take an airboat ride with Andy. Their picnic turns into a fight for survival. Rorby’s characters aren’t perfect which is why readers will love them- Sarah whines a lot as they slog through the Glades on foot and Andy, who knows how to survive is, at times, anything but a knight in shinning armor.

Some of their adventures are based on events straight off the nightly news- one in particular involves a huge boa constrictor – that’s all I’m saying bout that!

Readers of Rorby’s novel Hurt Go, Happy will be delighted in being reacquainted with a few old friends at the end of the novel. If you haven’t read Hurt Go, Happy, I also recommend that novel as well. Both of theses books will be a hit with middle schoolers.