Ghosts

by Raina Telgemeier

 

 

Ghosts is my first graphic novel that I can think of that I’ve read in its entirety without putting it aside. I didn’t want the story to end and was so bummed when I finished it. The kids at the school I work at have been begging me to read this one and I’m so glad I did! I loved the story line how it really dives into the day to day life with cystic fibrosis as a kid and how it affects not only the child that has it but the siblings and parents. I won’t go to in-depth on the description of the book since I’m sure I’m one of the last people to read it. 🙂 Catrina and her family move to upper California for her dad’s new job and they are hoping the change in climate helps her sister Maya have more good days with her cystic fibrosis. The town the move to Bahia De La Luna is rich is culture and tradition and has a huge festival every year for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)! I have always loved all the culture – traditions – and decorations for Dia De Los Muertos. I would take that over Halloween any day. So I think between finding one of the rare few elementary and middle grade books that tackles cystic fibrosis and then includes Dia De Los Muertos I was sold one page one. The illustrations with bold and set the mood with each frame. They story line was well developed and hooked me instantly. I will be checking out her other books and might even dive into more graphic novels. Ghosts is a perfect book to read anytime of the year but would be great for a Spooktober book to read, it’s not scary but it is set in Spooktober season.

About the Book: Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for BahĂ­a de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in BahĂ­a de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.

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The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker

By Kerry Wilkinson

 

 

Upon reading the The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker I thought it sounded a lot like 13 Minutes. I liked that one okay but it didn’t really hold my interest. This one sounded like it might be one I liked more and I was right. My YA reader and I really enjoyed how this story unfolded. The story was well written, fully developed and had many moments where the reader’s imagination was really stretched to think beyond the normal mystery. It has some supernatural feels and that is what made us like it. The characters seemed realistic and ones you had to keep reading about. You had to know what was going to happen next. The author is new to us and we will have to check out her other books to see if they are just as good. I really enjoyed this mystery – coming of age book. My YA reader and I thought this would be a good movie or mini series on Netflix. Overall we thought this was a perfect Spooktober book to read if you can wait that long.

About the book: A village with something to hide. Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up cold and alone in the river that twists through her quiet village. She has no memory of how she got there. But she does know that another girl was drowned in the same river the summer before, held under the water by an unknown killer…

A community torn apart. Eleanor is a normal, every day teenager. She argues with her mum, spends her days with her best friend, and is looking forward to a carefree summer of sunshine and music. Who would want to hurt her?

A shocking secret. Determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened to her, Eleanor can’t escape the feeling that something awful links her to the previous summer’s murder. But will she find out the truth before it’s too late?

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

When Elephants Fly

by Nancy Richardson Fischer

Publication Date: September 4 2018

Buy the Book (or put on hold at your local library! I don’t get any $$ if you click and buy from links) AmazonBarnes and Noble

Add to your GoodReads shelf

 

This book – oh my stars this book not only got me out of a reading slump but I feel for this book hard. I finished it in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t stop reading it and when I got to tired to read I got up way before the sun so I could read some more. Now I’m sad because I’m done reading it. This book tackles so much from mental illness and suicide ( Lily’s), a wonderful best friend of Lily that is tired of not living his true self and comes out to his parents (who btw are total butt heads. I’d call them worse but don’t want to be flagged with all the cuss words) the plight of elephants in the wild, it also touches base on the abuse some captive elephants experience at the hands of less than ethical in my opinion handlers in the zoo and circus setting. I know the author worked for the biggest circus in the USA but I’m very against circus maybe Ringling didn’t use these tactics but I just don’t agree with circus acts in general. Okay now on to this amazing book!

Lily’s life hasn’t been a normal kid upbringing. Her mom had paranoid schizophrenia and when Lily was 7 her mom tried to kill her. Her mom was obsessed with Peter Pan and thought they could fly to Neverland. Lucky for Lily the police officer that was on the roof with her dad grabbed her as her mom threw her off the roof. What had stayed in the back of Lily’s mind was her dad saved the mom and not her. He also saved the mom many times by ignoring all the abuse Lily experienced leading up to that fateful night on the roof. Lily is terrified that she will become her mom since it is genetic and pretty much all the women in her mom’s family have schizophrenic to some degree. So she leans on her best friend Sawyer to administer quizzes to make sure she isn’t starting to develop it as well as make sure she sticks to her 12 year plan to avoid all triggers leading up to age 30. Sawyer is always there for her but really needs Lily to be there for him as well. He is living a lie and wants to just be the true Sawyer he is. He finally comes out to his parents and is kicked out of the house. One thing I wish the author had done with Sawyer was not make him so rich. When his parents kicked him out he was able to look at all these uber expensive apartments and moved out fine. Most teens that come out to there parents and are kicked out end up homeless or live in shelters unless they have family that will take them in. This I think would have made the book a 5 star for me if she had explored what really happens with most LGBTQPIA teens.

Swifty the baby elephant that is the center of the book and Lily’s story gives a lot of data on both African and Asian elephants in the wild and in captivity. Many zoo’s and refuges try to breed elephants to keep the numbers rising instead of decreasing like they are in the wild. Many times with any zoo breeding the baby isn’t accepted and even killed. This is what happens to Swifty Swift Jones (Sawyer donated 100,000 to the name the baby elephant contest and named the elephant after his favorite pop star. See what I mean about him from a very rich family). Because of a deal the zoo keeper made with the circus for the male  elephant specimen if Swifty mom doesn’t accept her Swifty because property of the circus. Property is all Swifty and the other animals are they are worked, kept in unsafe and unsanitary environments and abused to get them to perform. The rest of the book is Lily realizing that volunteering at the local town paper as a means to an end to get int USC journalism department is more  than that. She loves Swifty and she might not be able to save herself from her fate but she can save Swifty from her’s!

This is where I’ll end because if I talk anymore I’m going to give away the whole book. 🙂 When Elephants Fly was an amazing book that really tugged at my heartstrings. I loved Sawyer and Lily and really wanted them to be okay with the hand they have been dealt. I loved that these 2 lost souls had each other because everyone needs someone who will back them up no matter what. They have their ups and downs but in the end they have each other. While they didn’t get to pick their families they did find each other and became their own little family.

I gave this book 4 stars because I think it would have been more realistic if Sawyer wasn’t able to have all the money in the world to find a place to stay when his butt head dad kicked him out of the house for coming out as been gay.

Also this is a YA book but I did give this to my 7th grader. There was a few small not in detail adult scenes but nothing she hasn’t seen on Pretty Little Liars.

About the book: T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she’s not developing schizophrenia. Genetics are not on Lily’s side. When she was seven, her mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia, tried to kill her. And a secret has revealed that Lily’s odds are even worse than she thought. Still, there’s a chance to avoid triggering the mental health condition, if Lily can live a careful life from ages eighteen to thirty, when schizophrenia most commonly manifests. But when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can’t abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf’s life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way.

Thank you so very much Harlequin Teen for sending me this amazing book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Baby Code!

Girls Who Code: Baby Code! series

by Sandra Horning

illustrated by Melissa Crowton

 

There are 4 books in the series: Play, Music, Art and Baby Code. They are board books so sturdy enough for infants and young toddlers to have. The pictures are simple, bold and colorful. The sentences are simple 1 sentence per page. My husband who is a coder really thought the idea was cool and wished they had been around when our bookworms were little so he could have read these instead of the tongue twisting books they loved. 🙂 For me I liked the regular story parts but really think the code part was more for parents, especially parents that work in coding and programming. The coding part explains what is happening on the page and how it is used in every day living and activities. I found it interesting but not sure if I’d read that part if it was reading the book aloud. The Baby Code book explains coding a bit better. Some examples: Baby needs a nap, code tells computer to go to sleep. Overall I think it’s a cute board book series but the coding part in my mind is way over the babies, toddler and preschool bookworms heads. Maybe it’s just me my husband starts to explain something from work and I’m lost. I get science and math but coding always trips me up. I think these would be a great gift for a new baby who’s mom, dad or both are programmers. They would really love the series.

About the series: It’s never too early to get little ones interested in computer coding with this unique series of board books!

How do you explain coding in art to a baby? By showing how it’s all around them, and how they can take part in it, of course! By using items in a baby’s world, like a camera or a block made from a 3D printer, this charming board book full of bright, colorful illustrations is the perfect introduction to coding in art for babies and their caregivers–and is sure to leave them wanting to learn more!

Thank you Penguin Random House for sending the Baby Code! series. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.

Where the Watermelons Grow

by Cindy Baldwin

 

Where the Watermelons Grow deals with a tough subject that isn’t really out there much for middle grade and upper elementary grade readers mental illness. This book is heavy and can be too much for some readers, so you might want to read it before you hand it to your reader if you think it might a trigger. I really think readers ages middle grade through adult will enjoy this heart breaking book that really touched and has stayed with me. I just wanted to go into the book and give Della a huge hug. She is such a sweet strong girl who is facing so much in her life. I think this is one of those books that could help kids that are dealing with tough situations at home. They could see that they are not the only one’s that are dealing with these issues or similar ones. I know some are saying it could be for as young at 3rd grade but I really think for me at least this is an upper elementary and above. The story is well written, the characters are fully developed and the story is one that will touch every reader. I couldn’t believe this was a debut novel from the author. I can’t wait to see what Cindy Baldwin writes next.  Grab this book from your local library or book store and read a wonderful book this summer!

About the book: When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.

With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.

But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

Thank you HarperCollins and Cindy Baldwin for allowing me to read Where the Watermelons Grow. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Evangeline of the Bayou

by Jan Eldredge

illustrations by Joseph Kuefler

 

 

I know it says illustrations by, but don’t let that stop you this is a middle grade chapter book with some wonderful illustrations sprinkled throughout. I really gives the book a great feel. I was told that Evangeline of the Bayou was a supernatural hunter book for middle grade with a southern gothic feel. I was sold but was a bit skeptical, I hadn’t really read a book like that for middle grade, YA sure lots but middle grade not so much. Evangeline is a spunky, sassy, girl who also strong, brave and smart. She must have gotten those qualities from her grandma who even is her aging years is still all those things. They are a family of supernatural hunters. You read that right they fight the supernatural from ghost to monsters. She needs to find her animal familiar and fast to prove she has a heart to the council and  can be a haunt huntress aka: swamp witch just like her grandma. Evangeline is learning to hunt, she sometimes even goes out on her own while grandma sleeps. That never goes well and the reader gets to experience some pretty humorous mistakes being made. Just when Evangeline thinks she can’t take the swamp anymore her grandma informs her they are packing their bags and heading to New Orleans to take care of a possession. Evangeline couldn’t be happier since the canine omen of death that has her worried that grandma’s days are coming to an end. Once the reader travels to New Orleans with the crew the story takes on a new twist. This book is such a fun, charming, book that I seriously could reread it again and again. I loved all the New Orleans and Louisiana references. From the swampy cypress trees to the  beignets at Cafe Du Monde she really transported me back to this rich vibrant city. If your kid is reluctant to read a book this summer grab a copy of Evangeline of the Bayou from your library or bookstore and hand it to them. They will fall for this rich vibrant story about monsters, banshees (which I have to say I’m a bit intrigued by them), southern folklore, and gothic charm. Might want to grab 2 copies so you can read this amazing story that my middle grader reader and I really hope becomes a series!

About the book: Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants.

With her animal familiar sure to make itself known any day now, the only thing left to do is prove to the council she has heart. Then she will finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy of following in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors.

But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots.

Set in the evocative Louisiana bayou and the vibrant streets of New Orleans, Evangeline’s is a tale of loyalty and determination, the powerful bonds of friendship and family, and the courage to trust your gut no matter how terrifying that might be.

Thank you so much Balzer+Bray for sending me a copy of Evangeline of the Bayou. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Fruit Bowl

written and illustrated by Mark Hoffman

 

Fruit Bowl is informative and does a good job at explaining what makes a fruit and fruit. At one point in the book I was surprised at one of the fruits that I always thought was a veggie. This book really shows the reader and listener just how many “veggies” are not really veggies but as the book says: Fruits in disguise. Fruit Bowl  is a great book to read during the summer before heading out to the farmers market or before planting your own fruit and vegetable plants. I could see teachers using this in a seasonal unit – healthy eating unit – or fruits and vegetable unit. The dialogue is fast and witty many of the puns will go over a younger reader/listener but will not take away from the book. They will think they are funny while the reader (parent or teacher) will really think they are funny. I thought the fruit and vegetable heated debate between all of the fruit bowl being done in bubble text form was a great idea. Not only does it make the dialogue seem more like a conversation among the fruits and veggies but also introduces the reader/listener to graphic novel text and other ways to present a story line and dialogue. The colorful simple illustrations are spot on and make your eyes really take it all in. Grab a copy of Fruit Bowl this summer and have some fun reading and maybe even trying a new fruit to add to your fruit bowl at home.

About the book: Who belongs in the fruit bowl? Apples, check. Blueberries, check. Tomato, che— Wait, what?! Tomato wants to join the other fruits, but does he belong? The perfect mix of botany and a bunch of bananas!   

All the fruit are in the bowl. There’s Apple and Orange. Strawberry and Peach. Plum and Pear. And, of course, Tomato.
Now wait just a minute! Tomatoes aren’t fruit! Or are they?  Using sly science (and some wisdom from a wise old raisin), Tomato proves all the fruit wrong and shows that he belongs in the bowl just as much as the next blueberry! And he’s bringing some unexpected friends too!

Thank you Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Fruit Bowl. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.