Brave The Page

by National Novel Writing Month


About the Book:

The official NaNoWriMo handbook that inspires young people to tackle audacious goals and complete their creative projects.

Partly a how-to guide on the nitty-gritty of writing, partly a collection of inspiration to set (and meet) ambitious goals, Brave the Page is the go-to resource for middle-grade writers. Narrated in a fun, refreshingly kid-friendly voice, it champions NaNoWriMo’s central mission that everyone’s stories deserve to be told. The volume includes chapters on character, plot, setting, and the like; motivating essays from popular authors; advice on how to commit to your goals; a detailed plan for writing a novel or story in a month; and more!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes in the transformational power of creativity. They provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds–on and off the page. With its first event in 1999, the organization’s programs now include National Novel Writing Month in November, Camp NaNoWriMo, the Young Writers Program, Come Write In, and the “Now What?” Months.

NaNoWriMo month is coming up and growing in popularity each year. Writers of all levels take part in NaNoWriMo month and I love that it’s such an encouraging community . My freshman in college is going to take part for the first time this year. Writers tend to either be paper and pen to electronic. There are many options out there to fit every writer. Brave the Page is a writers handbook for the younger writer in mind. I’d say middle through high school would be a good age range. College might be pushing it but I still think they would get something out of it. Your budding writer will want their own copy so they can do the writing prompts. They could also use any of the following items to use for the writing prompt exercises. 

First up anyone 13 and over can sign up and participate in NaNoWriMo month it’s free and offers some much. Now I’ll hand it over to my writer and freshman college student since she has been writing since she was 7.

For pen and paper writers:

Pens: Inkjoy pens write so smooth and they come in a wide variety of colors which can up with developing ideas and keeping them organized. A nice set of highlighters is always good as well.

Journals: I have a wide variety of journals but really my favorite ones are spiral notebooks in all different sizes. They are sturdy and easy to take with you and when you mess up it’s a lot easier to rip out a page. Also they are available everywhere and very affordable. Stock up now while they are on sale.

Post its: Post its are great to use! I am planning on using them for NaNoWriMo month. I’ve already started creating my story board and blocking out things for what I want to include in my book. I also use them to create writing time and sprints for me so I don’t push writing aside for something else.

Part old school paper part electronic: RocketBook! This is cool I got it for my 18th birthday. It’s just like any old spiral you jot down your notes, or chapters and when your ready to load them up you open the app that is on Google Play and Apple. Scan the pages and it syncs with your cloud service and then wipe clean. This is good for when your on the go and can’t type out our story ideas, etc…

  • It does use certain pens so be sure to have them: FriXion Pens. and it can be a little pricey but then again it’s a spiral that you use over and over and never gets full so in the long run you might be saving money. It’s the best of both old school paper and up to date technology. Amazon has some good deals most of the time for RocketBooks so worth checking out.

Electronic Writers:

I’ve tested out several different sites when I took a creative writing class last year in high school. The plus side to electronic writing is easy to erase mistakes, it’s always there and a lot easier to edit and you can back it up. The down side to this is alot of these cost money and it can get pricey.



Google Docs: It is very user friendly, backs up your writing as you go. Many published writers use it and you can download your finished story or book in a pdf format and create a book easily.

Microsoft Word: I don’t have any thing much to say about this one. It isn’t a favorite of mine. I didn’t find it as easy to navigate and my teacher preferred Google.


Hemingway App: A great easy way to edit your writing and create more professional stories. Very user friendly and can be used for everything from school assignments to writing a novel.

Grammerly: This tool is great to use and is similar to the Hemmingway App. Very user friendly and can be used at home and for school. Personally I like the Hemingway App.

I was going to do some paid for sites but really most kids can’t afford to pay for writing sites and there are a lot of great free apps, books ( check them out at your local library) and forums. So if you want to check out a paid site there is one called Dabble. It has a lot of nice features and the best part you can do a 14 day trial and no credit card is needed for the trial. So no forgetting to cancel if your not sure or just checking it out.

Thank you Viking Books for Young Readers for sending us a copy of Brave the Page. All thoughts and opinions are our own and not influenced by the free book. 



The Pumpkin War

by Cathleen Young



The Pumpkin War was an entertaining book. You get a full on lesson on how to grow pumpkins the size of a boat, how to take care of bees and even some information on Einstein. In many ways this fiction book was also a STEM book. It also has family diversity the main character Billie is part Irish and part Ojibwe Indian. Many of the other characters are from other countries and I love that aspect. Billie is not a likable character, she was actually a complete and utter brat. Usually that turns me off when I’m reading especially when it’s elementary/ middle grade books. The author hooked me though with the great cast of characters and her little sister is just adorable! Sam is trying to keep the friendship alive with Billie and every one is on his side but Billie can’t let go what she believes happens when she lost to him during the great pumpkin race the year before. Does she really know what happened? Has time and her anger at loosing to Sam made a new narrative in her mind? Can she finally let go of her anger or does she risk losing not only her oldest friend but her other friends as well?

About the book: Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn’t care much about winning, or at least Billie didn’t think so until last summer’s race, when his pumpkin crashed into hers as she was about to cross the finish line, and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin, and beat Sam in the race. It’s a tricky science to grow pumpkins, since weather, bugs and other critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

Thank you Random House for sending me a copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Stonewall Riots

Coming out in the Streets

by Gayle E Pittman



The Stonewall Riots is a very powerful book. This non fiction doesn’t hold back any punches. The author does an amazing job at placing the reader right in the center of the riots that happened in the late 60’s. Riots hold a key place in history through out the years but the 60’s were probably some of the most prominent years for riots. The Stonewall Riots were about fighting for LGBT rights. This middle grade non fiction tells the full story and includes artifacts: newspaper articles – pictures – arrest sheets and so much more. I had not heard of these riots till I read the book and I’m so glad Gayle Pitman wrote this book. So many people will now know about a time in history that you won’t learn about in school , or at least I hadn’t. I think this is an excellent addition to any school or home library.

About the book: This book is about the Stonewall Riots, a series of spontaneous, often violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ+) community in reaction to a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The Riots are attributed as the spark that ignited the LGBTQ+ movement. The author describes American gay history leading up to the Riots, the Riots themselves, and the aftermath, and includes her interviews of people involved or witnesses, including a woman who was ten at the time. Profusely illustrated, the book includes contemporary photos, newspaper clippings, and other period objects. A timely and necessary read, The Stonewall Riots helps readers to understand the history and legacy of the LGBTQ+ movement

Thank you Netgalley and Abrams Books for Young Readers, I learned so much! All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

Cinderella Liberator

by Rebecca Solnit

illustrated by Arthur Rackham



I really loved this modern take on an old classic. Everyone knows the story of Cinderella but have you read Ella’s story. This book was fun to read and full of so many great messages. They talk about how beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone thinks different things about what is beautiful and what makes them happy. They talk about following your dreams and not conforming to who everyone around you wants you to be, and so much more. This book while it’s a picture book is really for the older reader. I don’t see a young reader or listener getting the messages out of it. They would like the story yes, but that is it. The middle grade, teen and even adult reader will get so much more out of this tale! If your younger reader/listener is looking for they get married and live happily ever after than this is not for them. One thing that the author did that is so different from the original is she had Cinderella aka: Ella’s parents be divorced and off on their own grand adventures. Her mom is a sea captain, sailing the big blue ocean. Her dad is off being a judge somewhere far away and so she is stuck at home taking care of her Evil wicked stepmom and her mean stepsisters.

I have so many quotes and thoughts written down from reading Cinderella Liberator. I’m glad I took the time to read it and it is one of my favorites this year. The illustrations are great to. I love that their is no detail just the silhouettes of what everything is. They color scheme inside is the same as the color scheme outside baby blue and black. I hope you take the time to grab a copy from your local library or bookstore and read this gem.

About the book: In this modern twist on the classic story, Cinderella, who would rather just be Ella, meets her fairy godmother, goes to a ball, and makes friends with a prince. But that is where the familiar story ends. Instead of waiting to be rescued, Cinderella learns that she can save herself and those around her by being true to herself and standing up for what she believes.


Amelia Fang series

by Laura Ellen Anderson

If you are looking for an entertaining upper elementary school book series about a family of vampires living in Nocturnia then look no further than Amelia Fang. Amelia’s town of Nocturnia has some unusual neighbors from a yeti to a grim reaper Amelia’s age. This book series is fun to read not matter what the season but I think it is perfect reading for fall and Halloween season. There are a few things I would like to point out: There is some bullying and at times the parents seem more involved in their own life and pleasing others then helping out their daughter Amelia. There are some creatures that are called names but in the end they are accepted for who they are. If you have any concerns like any book read it before handing it to your reader. If your reader loved the Isadora Moon books and have gotten older than they will really enjoy Amelia Fang. Would I recommend this series to others? Yes and I wish this series was around when my girls were the age group for this series.

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball: Meet Amelia Fang.

She loves playing Goblin Tag, and cuddling her pet pumpkin, Squashy. She hates going to her mum and dad’s boring Barbaric Ball. Oh, and one more thing – Amelia is a vampire.

When the spoilt prince of Nocturnia captures Squashy, Amelia must plan a daring rescue. But things in the Kingdom of the Dark may not be all they seem…

Join Amelia on her first abominable adventure. She won’t bite!


Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis: Amelia Fang is the biggest hearted vampiress you’ll ever meet. In this adventure, she and her friends Florence the yeti (DON’T CALL HER BEAST), Grimaldi the Death and Prince Tangine (reformed spoiled sprout), along with her pet pumpkin Squashy, must brave the journey to the terrifying Kingdom of the Light to try to find Tangine’s missing mother, Queen Fairyweather.

But with unicorns, fairies and angel-kittens lurking around every corner, who can they trust? And will they finally uncover the real villain keeping the kingdoms of Light and Dark as mortal enemies?

Join Amelia on her latest adventure. She won’t bite!

Thank you Delcorte Books for Young Readers and Random House for sending me the Amelia Fang books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Wilder Girls

by Rory Power


For me this one was just alright. I think it had a lot of promise but just didn’t wow me. I think part of the problem is that I went in with all the hype around the book. Also I am not a Lord of the Flies fan, I know I know. So when I was reading all the reviews and articles saying it was a feminist Lord of the Flies it might have tainted it a bit. I didn’t click with any of the characters, they were developed I just felt like they weren’t fully developed. The story line was good but I think it was missing something. Overall it was entertaining and I think with the right elements it would be a great show or movie. For me it ended up being 3 stars, and I think I’ll try to read it again sometime much later and see if I can get behind all the hype.


About the book: A feminist Lord of the Flies about three best friends living in quarantine at their island boarding school, and the lengths they go to uncover the truth of their confinement when one disappears. This fresh, new debut is a mind-bending novel unlike anything you’ve read before.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

Read an Excerpt:  Something. Way out in the white-dark. Between the trees, moving where the thickets swarm. You can see it from the roof, the way the brush bends around it as it rustles to the ocean.
That size, it must be a coyote, one of the big ones hitting shoulder high. Teeth that fit like knives in the palm of my hand. I know because I found one once, the end of it just poking through the fence. Took it back and hid it under my bed.
One more crash through the brush and then the stillness again. Across the roof deck Byatt lowers her gun, rests it on the railing. Road clear.
I keep mine up, just in case, keep the sight raised to my left eye. My other eye’s dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath.
It’s like that, with all of us here. Sick, strange, and we don’t know why. Things bursting out of us, bits missing and pieces sloughing off, and then we harden and smooth over.
Through the sight, noon sun bleaching the world,     I can see the woods stretching out to the island’s edge, the ocean beyond. Pines bristling thick like always, rising high above the house. Here and there, gaps where the oak and birch have shed their leaves, but most of the canopy is woven tight, needles stiff with frost. Only the radio antenna breaking through, useless now the signal’s out.
Up the road someone yells, and out of the trees, there’s Boat Shift coming home. It’s only a few who can make the trip, all the way across the island to where the Navy delivers rations and clothes at the pier the ferries used to come and go from. The rest of us stay behind the fence, pray they make it home safe.
The tallest, Ms. Welch, stops at the gate and fumbles with the lock until at last, the gate swings open, and Boat Shift come stumbling in, cheeks red from the cold. All three of them back and all three of them bent under the weight of the cans and the meats and the sugar cubes. Welch turns to shut the gate behind her. Barely five years past the oldest of us, she’s the youngest of the teachers. Before this she lived on our hall and looked the other way when somebody missed curfew. Now she counts us every morning to make sure nobody’s died in the night.
She waves to give the all clear, and Byatt waves back. I’m gate. Byatt’s road. Sometimes we switch, but my eye doesn’t do well looking far, so it never lasts. Either way I’m still a better shot than half the girls who could take my place.
The last Boat girl steps under the porch and out of sight, and that’s the end of our shift. Unload the rifles. Stick the casings in the box for the next girl. Slip one in your pocket, just in case.
The roof slopes gently away from the flattop deck, third floor to second. From there we swing over the edge and through the open window into the house. It was harder in the skirts and socks we used to wear, something in us still telling us to keep our knees closed. That was a long time ago. Now, in our ragged jeans, there’s nothing to mind.
Byatt climbs in behind me, leaving another set of scuff marks on the window ledge. She pushes her hair over one shoulder. Straight, like mine, and a bright living brown. And clean. Even when there’s no bread, there’s always shampoo.
“What’d you see?” she asks me. I shrug. “Nothing.”
Breakfast wasn’t much, and I’m feeling the shake of hunger in my limbs. I know Byatt is too, so we’re quick as we head downstairs for lunch, to the main floor, to the hall, with its big high ceilings. Scarred, tilting tables; a fireplace; and tall-backed couches, stuffing ripped out to burn for warmth. And us, full of us, humming and alive.
There were about a hundred girls when it started, and twenty teachers. All together we filled both wings off the old house. These days we only need one.
The Boat girls come banging through the front doors, letting their bags drop, and there’s a scramble for the food. They send us cans, mostly, and sometimes packs of dried jerky. Barely ever anything fresh, never enough for everyone, and on an average day, meals are just Welch in the kitchen, unlocking the storage closet and parceling out the smallest rations you ever saw. But today’s a delivery day, new supplies come home on the backs of the Boat Shift girls, and that means Welch and Headmistress keep their hands clean and let us fight for one thing each.
Byatt and me, though, we don’t have to fight. Reese is right by the door, and she drags a bag off to the side for us. If it were somebody else, people would mind, but it’s Reese—left hand with its sharp, scaled fingers—so everyone keeps quiet.
She was one of the last to get sick. I thought maybe  it had missed her, maybe she was safe, and then they started. The scales, each a shifting sort of silver, unfolding out of her skin like they were coming from inside. The same thing happened to one of the other girls in our year. They spread across her whole body and turned her blood cold until she wouldn’t wake up, so we thought it was the end for Reese, and they took her upstairs, waited for it to kill her. But it didn’t. One day she’s holed up in the infirmary, and the next she’s back again, her left hand a wild thing but still hers.
Reese rips open the bag, and she lets me and Byatt root through it. My stomach clenching, spit thick around my tongue. Anything, I’d take anything. But we’ve got a bad one. Soap. Matches. A box of pens. A carton of bullets. And then, at the bottom, an orange—a real live orange, rot only starting to nip at the peel.
We snatch. Reese’s silver hand on my collar, heat roiling under the scales, but I throw her to the floor, shove my knee against the side of her face. Bear down, trap Byatt’s neck between my shoulder and my forearm. One of them kicks; I don’t know who. Clocks me in the back of the head and I’m careening onto the stairs, nose against the edge with a crack. Pain fizzing white. Around us, the other girls yelling, hemming in.
Someone has my hair in her fist, tugging up, out. I twist, I bite where the tendons push against her skin, and she whines. My grip loosens. So does hers, and we scrabble away from each other.
I shake the blood out of my eye. Reese is sprawled halfway up the staircase, the orange in her hand. She wins.

Thank you Netgalley and Delcorte Press for allowing me to read Wilder Girls. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by my free book. 

Magic on the Map {series}

by Courtney Sheinmel and Bianca Turetsky

illustrated by Stevie Lewis

The Magic On the Map series is new series with just 2 books out at this time. It follows twins Finn and Molly Parker. Their dad bought a RV camper but not just any plain old RV this is a magical RV. While their parents are sleeping on the first night they go to check it out more. The camper has a cool PET system and they go on an adventure.  This could be classified as a USA geography book series and many say it’s a younger not as magical Magic Treehouse. I think I’d be okay with that description. While you learn a lot of neat facts about the state the twins are transported to that is about it. The illustrations look like pencil sketches and there is no color so shades of blackish brown.  I think this would be a  hit with young readers who like geography. Overall I don’t know if they will be popular at my school library but we will see.  I think this is a good fit for younger elementary readers ranging from 1st through 3rd grade.

Magic on the Map: Let’s Mooove! On the last day of second grade, twins Spencer and Maggie Parker come home from school to find a camper van in their driveway. And not just any camper; a magic camper that can transport them to every state in the continental US. This is perfect for Maggie, who loves geography and is a star student, and for Spencer, who’s been failing his geography quizzes and could use the real life extra credit.

Together, the twins travel to a surprising new place–the rolling fields of Colorado! There they get suited up in cowboy gear, eat a hearty breakfast in the Mess Hall, and join a cattle drive. But when the group takes a moment to rest, the ranch’s prized cow, Snowflake, is stolen by a band of rogue cowboys. The twins must discover how to work together in order to save Snowflake, and find their way home again.

Magic on the Map: The Show Must Go On After returning home from a cattle drive in the rolling fields of Colorado, twins Spencer and Maggie Parker think they must have been dreaming. The camper that showed up in their driveway on the last day of second grade couldn’t possibly be magic. There’s no way a camper can transport them to every state in the continental US… or is there?

Needing to know if it was all in their head, the twins sneak out to test the camper’s abilities, and end up in the middle of Times Square in New York City! There they run into super-star Hallie Hampton, who needs their help on a scavenger hunt around the city. If the twins can help Hallie complete the hunt before curtain call, she’ll give them two tickets to her debut on Broadway. But the hunt might not be the only thing the twins need to do to help Hallie and find their way home again.

Thank you Random House for sending me the first 2 Magic On the Map books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.