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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/20/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Book:

Warning: Contains spoiler for Feed

In the spirit of October, I have read Deadline by Mira Grant, book two in the Newsflesh series. The story picks up about a year after the Ryman presidential campaign, and Shaun Mason is learning how to live without his sister, Geroge, who was killed in a sinister plot by Ryman’s rival (at least that;s what we all think in book #1). And, actually, Shaun is learning how to live with George’s voice inside his head almost always–something that concerns his team of bloggers but also something that they have begun to get used to. When a young scientist from the CDC fakes her own death to get important information about the Kellis-Amberlee (zombie) virus to Shaun, the team makes some horrifying discoveries about not only George’s death but also about some important research about the virus that has been suppressed. As in Feed, Shaun puts himself and the team in great danger as he hunts down the truth.  Also as in Feed, although zombies play a role in the book, it is really about society’s response to the zombie apocalypse that is the true focus, rather than blood-and-guts horror. Note: Although I enjoyed this book thoroughly and my twelve-year-old son has read it, I am recommending it for high school and up. The concepts and language seem more appropriate to that level.

Currently Reading:

fairyring

 

rcyrba

2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup: The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

ClockworkThreeThe Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby was one of those adventurous-kids-solving-their-own-problems books, with a nod to steampunk and a dash of magic. The time and place was indefinite, but it felt like mid-nineteenth century, large East-coast city. Guiseppe, a street musician; Hannah, a maid; and Frederick, a clockmaker’s apprentice have great back-stories and their lives intertwine because of a green violin, a mysterious treasure hunt, and a clockwork man. Readers follow the story of all three children for quite a while before they meet up with one another, so each has a distinctly developed personality. Once all three of our characters assemble (on page 247) they work together beautifully to make everything turn out right in the end. It is definitely a book I am recommending to fans of fantastical adventures.

Here is a discussion guide from Scholastic.

And here is a book trailer:

Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts

 

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/13/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

OK, so after a few weeks of not accomplishing much in the way of reading, I feel I’ve hit the groove again :-)

Last Week’s Books:

Under My Hat is a great short story book for "edge time" reading. So far my favorite tale has been "Payment Due" by Frances Hardinge.

Hurray! I finished my August Random Read book, Under My Hat, a short story anthology about witches edited by Jonathan Strahan. And it also counts towards my Check Off Your Reading List Challenge, created by Gathering Books.

Readers will find much to like in this anthology, and some very familiar names to boot–Holly Black, Garth Nix, Jane Yolen, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee. My favorite story comes near the very beginning: “Payment Due” by Frances Hardinge. It’s about getting revenge on a debt collector in a very unique way and features a young witch switching bodies with a cat for a time. Great book to read in October!

moonovermanifestI have just gotten back into audiobooks because I now commute by myself a few days a week. Newbery winner Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool is the second one I have listened to and stands in extremely stark contrast to Daniel Kraus’ Rotters, even though Kirby Heyborne does narration work in both.

Moon Over Manifest is the story of Abilene Tucker, whose daddy sends her to live in the town of Manifest in 1936. But it is also the story of the town in 1917-18, when boys were going off to fight in the Great War and an unscrupulous mining company was due for a comeuppance.  Vanderpool weaves the stories together expertly, with beautiful language, and she very vividly paints a picture of the townsfolk and their complex relationships with each other.

Still, I did find my attention wandering at times, much like I did with Navigating Early. While I can definitely appreciate Vanderpool’s craft, I think that my tastes just run in a different direction.

witchofblackbirdpondTwo Newberys in one week for me! The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare is the October selection of the staff book club of one of my middle schools–the newest one to me. I know for sure that I read this as a child, but it was so long ago that I had the barest recollection of it. It was a pleasure to reread, and I am interested to see what others thought of it when we meet later in the month.

Kit Tyler, used to running free but under the watchful eye of her grandfather, travels from Barbados to Connecticut Colony in 1687 soon after his death. On board ship, she meets first mate and captain’s son Nathaniel Eaton, who warns her that her swimming and fancy dress might turn heads in the settlement of Wethersfield that her Puritan aunt and uncle call home. Truly, Kit does have a hard time fitting in, as she is not used to physical labor, like her cousins Judith and Mercy are;  spending all of Sunday at church meeting; trying to act properly so as not to offend or anger her very religious uncle; and being courted by the rich and stoic William Ashby. She also befriends a poor old widow woman who lives in the meadow near Blackbird Pond, whom townsfolk have suspected of witchcraft many a time. Eventually Kit is formerly accused as a witch, herself, and must suffer through a trial, only to be saved by the quick thinking of Nat Eaton.

Readers will sympathize with Kit and find her relatives’ customs as strange as she does. They will also share in the worry over whether all of the girls’ romances will work out and fear for Kit’s safety when she faces the death penalty at her trial. Superb historical fiction.

rapturepracticeI also finished two Random Reads this week! Rapture Practice, a memoir by Aaron Hartzler was my “pick” for September. Hartzler recounts his experiences growing up in a Christian household, one in which the Rapture–Jesus coming back in bodily form and taking the saved Christians with him up to heaven–is expected to occur at any moment.

Although Hartzler recounts a bit of his life as a young child and preteen, the bulk of his story is about his high school years. As a teenager, Aaron begins to question his parents’ beliefs and rules for the family, which are seen as conservative even by some members of their own church. Only Christian music is acceptable for listening–even crossover singer Amy Grant is forbidden. The family does not attend movies and watches very little television. All friends must be churchgoers. When Aaron starts sneaking around to listen to rock music, attend movies with friends, date girls, and even try drinking, he does so with a  conflicted heart, wondering if his parents’ rules are too strict or if he is condemning his soul. Even more heartbreaking is when the reader gradually begins to realize that Aaron is gay, even before the teenage Aaron of the book does, and fears not only for his emotional well-being but the thought of his family’s rejection should they discover the same truth. The book ends before Aaron comes out, but after he begins to feel at peace with himself and loves his father for who he is and all the good things about him rather than dwelling those things he wishes he could change. Highly recommended reading for teens.

Currently Reading:

My son has been dying for me to read Deadline by Mira Grant so we can talk about it. He is currently reading book #3 in the Newsflesh trilogy.
My son has been dying for me to read Deadline by Mira Grant so we can talk about it. He is currently reading book #3 in the Newsflesh trilogy. And I *did* watch the premiere of The Walking Dead, so I am in the mood for zombies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rcyrba

2015 Rebecca Caudill Roundup: One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt

oneformurphysI admit that I am more of a horror, science fiction, and fantasy reader than a realistic fiction reader, but then there are those books that are so, so good that it makes me think I should choose realistic fiction titles more often. One for the Murphys  is one of those books.

Carley Connors is placed into foster care after her mother’s new husband beats them both, sending them to the hospital. From day one, Carley is determined not to become attached to the Murphy family, but she grows to love little Michael Eric first and then the rest of them. She makes a best friend, Toni, and does a lot of thinking about her past life with her mother and current life with the Murphys. Readers will find themselves torn between Carley’s two “worlds” just like she is. This one is a heartprint book for sure.

One for the Murphys is Linda Mullaly Hunt’s first middle grade novel. As the Awards Chair for the Rebecca Caudill Steering Committee, I had the honor of emailing her to let her know the book made the list. Her reply started like this: “Hey! Woo HOOOO!” That’s exactly how I felt when I heard that her next book, Fish in a Tree, will be published in the spring of 2015. I will definitely have to try see if I can get my hands on it before then.

Skype with Linda Mullaly Hunt  On the Author Visits section of her website, Linda Mullaly Hunt offers to Skype with students for FREE, answering three questions over a 15-20 minute period. She will also do a full 45-50 minute Skype session and send bookmarks for just $100. What a great way to connect kids with an author!

Other 2015 Rebecca Caudill Reading Roundup Posts

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/6/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Book:

unwhollyI thoroughly enjoyed UnWholly, Neal Shusterman’s follow-up to Unwind.

Here’s what the three main characters from the first book are up to. Connor is the new caretaker of the airplane graveyard, where runaway unwinds are kept safe until they turn 17, as a new law has reduced the maximum age for unwinding. Risa is the chief medic there, and she is wheelchair bound as a result of the chop shop explosion and her refusal to accept a new unwound spine. Lev has recently been released from prison and must volunteer his time at a center that kidnaps tithes and reprograms them for reentry into society at age 17.

Readers also meet Miracolina, a tithe who strongly resists reprogramming and fascinates Lev. And then there’s Camus Comprix. As if it isn’t bad enough that unwinding occurs, Camus is a person(?) created from all unwound parts; so he is not born, but made. It’s fascinating to watch his development and frightening to witness his obsession with Risa.

The best part about UnWholly is the world-building. Readers get more insight into a society that could allow such things to be done to its young people. I absolutely loved how Shusterman included excerpts of political ads, television commercials, and the like so readers would be immersed in the culture. UnSouled is now creeping to the top of my TBR pile!

Currently Reading/Listening to:

moonovermanifest
I made great progress on this audiobook while traveling to and from the Illinois Reading Council conference in Springfield.
Under My Hat is a great short story book for "edge time" reading. So far my favorite tale has been "Payment Due" by Frances Hardinge.
A great mix so far. Just one short story left, and I’ll be done!