Friday, April 19, 2013

'Titanic A to Z, The Story of the World's Most Famous Shipwreck' by Judy Nichols

This is a paid promotional post through my Featured Fiverrs. All opinions are my own, though.

This week marks 101 years since the famous sinking of the Titanic. Commemorate this historical event by downloading a book that teaches you all about it.

Book blurb:

Titanic A to Z, the Story of the World's Most Famous Shipwreck, is a children's picture book that takes young readers, ages 5-9, through the alphabet to learn about the sinking of the Titanic. Authentic photos from 1912 make the true facts come alive as young readers learn about the Titanic without dwelling on the gloomy aspects.

Details seldom found in other Titanic books will answer such questions as: Did kids help build the Titanic? What did kids do for fun when on board the ship the first four days? Who brought their pets along? Why did the kids like the Titanic barbershop? Who saw the iceberg first? How did the Captain of the rescue ship find out the Titanic was sinking? What scared the survivors as they waited for the rescue ship to take them on board? How were the kids who survived carried on board the rescue ship?

The introduction tells the story of the Titanic, followed by interesting details added in an alphabetic sequence. Suitable to read aloud to younger children while boys and girls who read at 2nd or 3rd grade reading level can enjoy reading it to themselves.


Judy Nichols loves to write for children and teenagers and has a special interest in historical subjects like the Titanic. Her writing reflects the years she spent as a librarian, reading specialist, and classroom teacher in K-12 schools. She is also the author of "Titanic Dog to the Rescue" on iPhone and iPad; "Barnyard Santa" on Android and iPhone; and "Teaching in Tough Times", published by Baker Book House. Her poems for children have appeared in Fun for Kidz, Pockets, and Hopscotch magazines. She has published many articles in magazines and newspapers featuring historical subjects and creative teaching projects and continues to write more books that help kids enjoy reading and learning.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

'Oliver and Jumpy: Bedtime Stories' by Werner Stejskal on YouTube

This is a paid post, via my Featured Fiverrs. Click on the page above to find more about these kinds of posts.
Children like to watch animated versions of their favorite stories, just as much as they like to read them in books. Werner Stejskal has created a series of stories about Oliver and Jumpy, a cat and a kangaroo, who are friends who have all kinds of adventures.

Eventually there will be at least 40 stories available to viewers on YouTube. Right now, four are available to watch on YouTube. Werner is looking to eventually convert the stories into books and hopes to create an app.

Werner narrates each story himself. You can also read along below each YouTube video if you watch directly on the site. Check out the first story:

Here is a message from Werner Stejskal:

 There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them quite violent. This made me decide to try writing something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia I watched the movie Magic on Belle Island with Morgan Freeman, where he teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired me as well and in the following sleepless nights because of the West to East flight, which somehow always seems to have this effect on us, the first stories with my two characters Oliver the cat and Jumpy the kangaroo made their appearance. I have written over 40 stories by now. There is no violence worth talking about but enough adventure to keep them interesting. These are 1000 word short stories and would suit pre-schoolers to primary school. I had incredible luck to find a great young artist who is illustrating my stories successively. There are three stories available on Youtube now and the fourth will come on presently. Depending on the illustrator, I will publish further stories in intervals of about three weeks. I hope very much that many children will find access to my videos. Please enjoy and let others know about my videos. God bless! Regards Werner 

Visit the website here  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

'The Odd Job Squad' by Karl Fields

Karl Field


Thirteen-year-old Ander Cartwright is an expert on two subjects: fortune cookies and payback.

Especially payback.

When he’s not struggling with algebra, Ander is the leader of an anonymous revenge club that operates within the walls of Marina Middle School. Got a beef with a classmate? Shoot Ander’s crew an email and, if your case if legit, they’ll deliver some retribution on your behalf.

It’s not easy to right wrongs and stay under the radar at the same time. That’s why Ander developed three simple rules designed to keep him and his friends from blowing their cover.

But when Ander spots the opportunity to settle an old score of his own, he ignores his own rules, setting off a chain of events that threatens to blow his cover, and it’ll take all the butt-kicking, detention-dodging skill he can muster to keep a lid on his secret.

Read an excerpt:
I chuckled. “Sounds extreme, don’t you think?”

After basketball, making fun of Christian was Shooter’s favorite sport, but when I looked her way, she wasn’t even close to paying attention, sitting off to the side and staring at the floor.

“Yeah,” Joe said. “I don’t like Greg either, but all he did was trash the guy’s shirt.”

Christian nodded back to the email. “A brand new shirt and Alan’s mom made a huge deal out of it.”

Alan had skinned one of his elbows pretty good, and when his mom saw what had happened, she wanted to call the school, but Alan begged her not to do it. Joe had a point. On the one hand, it was just a shirt, but then again, we’d all been Snots – that was when we got the idea for the revenge club. I wouldn’t have wanted word getting around that I needed protection from my mom, either.

“Okay. I’m in.” I raised my hand, calling for a vote. If it wasn’t unanimous, no go. We didn’t have a lot of rules, but “All In” was one of them, and nobody messed with the Big Three.

Christian’s hand shot up next. “Definitely. Even Snots don’t deserve to be treated like that.”

“As long as we keep it even,” I reminded him.

Joe and Shooter voted in favor, and that’s how we ended up outside the gym two days later for a Drive Thru.

The pounding of a basketball and squeaking of tennis shoes against hardwood were good signs: game on.

**My thoughts**

This book was a lot of fun! Middle school sucks. Bullies abound. Girls are snotty. Boys are dumb. Everyone does stupid things that hurt each other. So, enter the Odd Job Squad. Their goal is to get revenge on kids who are acting like total schmucks. Those who do the embarrassing end up getting embarrassed themselves. Only, eventually even those supposed do-gooders who are plotting revenge are going to get themselves into trouble.

I usually try to take mini breaks while reading books, but the adventures of Ander and his friends kept me snickering and glued to the Kindle. Before I knew it, the book was over! 

While their antics are quite unlikely to happen in real life, Ander, Shooter, Christian, and Joe are entertaining as they plot ways to retaliate against their nasty classmates, particularly Stacia. I wish I could have been so creative back in the day!

It sounds like there could easily be more adventures with this crew. I hope to read more of them some day!

Buy links: Amazon \ Barnes & Noble \ Kobo

Karl Fields is a writer of fiction for teens and young adults. His other interests include jazz, golf and collecting flash drives, the more unusual the better. He was an army brat and by the seventh grade, he had attended six different schools on three continents. His first book, The Odd Job Squad, is about the exploits of three eighth graders who operate an anonymous revenge club at their school. He recommends that you not attempt the stunts portrayed in this book. His second, Instant Preplay, is about a boy who discovers that his DVR records shows before they air. He recommends that you get one of those if you can.

One commenter from each stop will win a box of "Pinks," which are pink fortune cookies that Ander, the main character has a fondness for. One $25 Amazon gift card given to one random commenter at the end of the tour. One $15 Amazon gift card given to a tour stop host. Follow the tour for more chances to win!


Monday, April 15, 2013

Review of 'Rock Harbor: Search & Rescue' by Colleen Coble

Rock Harbor: Search and Rescue
by Colleen Coble and Robin Caroll
Release Date: April 9th 2013
From Thomas Nelson
292 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
In "Rock Harbor Search and Rescue," a middle grade fiction novel based on Colleen Coble's bestselling Rock Harbor series for adults, kids will enjoy the mixture of pets, adventure, suspense, and a mystery.

Emily O'Reilly is obsessed with all things Search and Rescue. She volunteers with the team and goes on rescue missions with her stepmom. She is even selling homemade jewelry to save up for her own Search and Rescue puppy. But when an expensive necklace is stolen from a renowned jewelry artist at Rock Harbor's fall festival and Emily is accused of the crime, it looks like she'll never get her puppy and be able to join the Rock Harbor Search and Rescue team.

Emily isn't willing to give up on her Search and Rescue dreams that easily, and she sets out to find the real culprit and to restore her reputation. With a few suspects in mind, Emily is determined to uncover the truth, but she isn't prepared for the secrets she and the Search and Rescue dogs sniff out in the process. This exciting mystery is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and have them pining after a Search and Rescue puppy of their own!

"Colleen is a master storyteller."-Karen Kingsbury

**My thoughts**

This is my first book by Colleen Coble, and I don't think it will be my last! This first book in the Rock Harbor series that is geared toward younger readers is a captivating mystery that had plenty of plot twists to actually keep me guessing through most of the book. Usually, I pride myself on figuring out "whodunit" before it is revealed in the plot. Not so much with this one!

Emily is a good kid who is thrust into a crazy case of guilty-before-proven-innocent and desperately tries to clear her name. She and her best friend Olivia become amateur sleuths in their quest for answers. Along the way, they learn many life lessons about not jumping to conclusions without all pertinent information. There are also a few religious and spiritual lessons along the way, that do not make the reader feel like those ideas are being pushed down their throats.

There is a lot of baggage that Emily carries with her, due to some horrible events with her birth mother. That storyline may be available in the adult version of the series, but I want to read more about it on the kids' level. Chances are, kids aren't going to read the adult books until much later in life. I felt like even though bits and pieces of the story were revealed throughout this book, I still wanted to have known about it by reading a previous novel. Food for thought in future books in this series?

Yes, this book also made me want my own search and rescue puppy. Emily has a good thing going with her interest in S&R, and I feel will have many more adventures to share!

About the Authors

Carol Award winner Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart.

3 print copies of Rock Harbor (US only)
2 e-books of Rock Harbor (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#AtoZChallenge 2006 Newbery Winner 'Criss Cross' by Lynne Rae Perkins

In 2006, the Newbery Medal Winner was 'Criss Cross' by Lynne Rae Perkins. Because I teach younger children, I have lost touch with these fabulous chapter books in recent years. This coming-of-age novel looks like another good read that I must add to my list.

I have included the Amazon blurb with the book cover. Click on the cover to download from Amazon and to read other reviews.

Book blurb:

She wished something would happen.

Something good. To her. Checking her wish for loopholes, she found one. Hoping it wasn't too late, she thought the word soon.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, he felt as if the world was opening. Life was rearranging itself; bulging in places, fraying in spots. 

He felt himself changing, too, but into what?

So much can happen in a summer.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

#AtoZChallenge Newbery Winner 'Bud, Not Buddy' by Christopher Paul Curtis

In 2000, author Christopher Paul Curtis won the Newbery Medal for his book Bud, Not Buddy. A story chronicling an orphan during the great Depression, it is taught in classrooms all over. (Get a teaching guide here.) This is yet another one that I haven't read, but plan to soon. I have a copy sitting on my bookshelf, just waiting to be devoured.

The Amazon description is short, but tells you everything you need to know to start it:
It’s 1936, in Flint, Michigan, and when 10-year-old Bud decides to hit the road to find his father, nothing can stop him.

Buy it on Amazon \ Barnes & Noble


Author Christopher Paul Curtis also received the Newbery Honor in 1996 for The Watson's Go to Birmingham: 1963, which deals with the horrors of racism in Birmingham in 1963. (Get a teacher's guide here.) Another one on that never-ending necessary TBR pile.

From Amazon:

A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird  Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny's  13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble,  they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the  one person who can shape him up. And they happen to  be in Birmingham when Grandma's church is blown  up.

Buy it on Amazon \ Barnes & Noble

Have you read either of these? What did you think of them? 

Monday, April 1, 2013

#AtoZChallenge Newbery Winners & Honors: Avi

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am focusing on Newbery Winners and Honors. To kick things off, I am starting with Avi. 

Avi comes from a long line of writers, dating back to the 19th century. He was born in 1937 and has published over 70 books. He has also won many awards, including one Newbery winner and two Newbery Honors.

While I haven't yet read these books, they are now on my TBR pile, as all Newbery books and honors should be. I have included the Amazon or Goodreads book blurb for each of the books. Click on the cover to order or to read reviews from your fellow readers.

Which of these have you read?

~~1991 Newbery Honor Award~~

But when the two families she was supposed to travel with mysteriously cancel their trips, Charlotte finds herself the lone passenger on a long sea voyage with a cruel captain and a mutinous crew. Worse yet, soon after stepping aboard the ship, she becomes enmeshed in a conflict between them! What begins as an eagerly anticipated ocean crossing turns into a harrowing journey, where Charlotte gains a villainous enemy . . . and is put on trial for murder!

~~1992 Newbery Honor Award~~

In this thought-provoking examination of freedom, patriotism, and respect, ninth-grader, Philip Malloy, is kept from joining the track team by his failing grades in English class. Convinced that the teacher just doesn't like him, Philip concocts a plan to get transferred out of her class. Breaking the school's policy of silence during the national anthem, he hums along, and ends up in a crisis at the center of the nation's attention.

~~2003 Newbery Award Winner~~

"Asta's Son" is all he's ever been called. The lack of a name is appropriate, because he and his mother are but poor peasants in 14th century medieval England. But this thirteen-year-old boy who thought he had little to lose soon finds himself with even less - no home, no family, or possessions. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he may be killed on sight, by anyone. If he wishes to remain alive, he must flee his tiny village. All the boy takes with him is a newly revealed name - Crispin - and his mother's cross of lead.

Spring Into Books Giveaway Blog Hop

Spring is finally here! That means it is prime time to curl up outside with a good book. Let me help you along your way by offering my beloved readers the chance to add $10 to their Amazon account! All you have to do is enter via the Rafflecopter below. Come back daily from now until April 14th for more chances to win. Then, follow the linky for even more chances to win in other contests. Participating blogs are offering gift cards and books.

Good luck and happy hopping!
 a Rafflecopter giveaway