I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora

. . I Kill the Mockingbird is such a clever novel! Best friends Lucy, Elena, and Michael come up with an idea to honor the memory of Mr. Nowak, one of their favorite teachers: They want to get everyone to want to read To Kill a Mockingbird. You know how sometimes demand increases as supply decreases? Well, their campaign feeds upon that effect, and quickly becomes bigger than they ever imagined! A backdrop to the novel is how Lucy and her family are dealing with the aftermath of her mother's cancer scare: "Books carried us away. They'd definitely carried me through this past year." This is handled in a positive but genuine way. I usually make copious notes to myself…

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Review: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

. . American Born Chinese consists of three tandem narratives. A second generation immigrant and the only Chinese-American student at his new school in a predominantly white area, Jin Wang just wants to be a typical American boy. The immortal Monkey King is a proud kung fu master who is trying to become more than just a monkey. And all-American Danny is embarrassed by his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee, who puts every Chinese stereotype into loud, off-putting action. As I read along, I wondered what, if anything, these storylines had to do with each other. Were they merely different perspectives on common themes, since all three addressed issues such as racism and intolerance? When the connections between these three narratives were revealed: wow!…

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Review: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

  Title: Ophelia and the Marvelous BoyAuthor: Karen FoxleePublisher: Knopf Books for Young ReadersReleased:January 28, 2014Source:I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Find it on:    Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy is a dazzling modern day retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale The Snow Queen. Her grief still fresh after the recent loss of her mother, Ophelia discovers a boy locked in the museum where her father is working and becomes entangled in a quest to save the world.Full of excitement and magic, Foxlee's storytelling absolutely glitters:This is the kind of superb writing that enchants the reader, making you feel as if you're reading a classic.This book made me cry... more than once.…

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Fallout by Todd Strasser

Title: FalloutAuthor: Todd StrasserPublisher: CandlewickExpected Release: September 10, 2013Source: publisher (won during Armchair BEA)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsFallout website (for further resources)Synopsis (from Goodreads):What if the bomb had actually been dropped? What if your family was the only one with a shelter? In the summer of 1962, the possibility of nuclear war is all anyone talks about. But Scott’s dad is the only one in the neighborhood who actually prepares for the worst. As the neighbors scoff, he builds a bomb shelter to hold his family and stocks it with just enough supplies to keep the four of them alive for two critical weeks. In the middle of the night in late October, when the unthinkable happens, those…

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Review: A Dash of Magic by Kathryn Littlewood

Title: A Dash of Magic (The Bliss Bakery #2)Author: Kathryn LittlewoodPublisher: Katherine Tegen BooksReleased: February 12, 2013Source: authorAmazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis (from Goodreads):Rosemary Bliss will do anything to get back her family's magical Cookery Booke. That's why she challenges Aunt Lily to an international baking competition in Paris: If Rose wins, Lily agrees to return the cookery Booke that she stole. If Rose loses...well, the consequences are too ugly to think about. But Lily isn't playing fair--she's using a magical ingredient to cheat. The only way for Rose to compete is for her to find magical ingredients of her own. Together with her long-lost grandpa, his sarcastic talking cat, and a turncoat French mouse, Rose and her brothers…

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Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Title: TwerpAuthor: Mark GoldblattPublisher: Random House Books for Young ReadersExpected Release: May 28, 2013Source: publisher (NetGalley)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis:"It's not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . ." Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying…

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Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

An 11-year-old flute student of mine enthusiastically recommended I read Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt. She was so excited while describing the book, I had to stop her so I wouldn't hear any spoilers. I love that! Originally published in 1975, this novel is geared for ages 10 and up. How did I miss out on this book as a kid?!Title: Tuck EverlastingAuthor: Natalie BabbittPublisher: Farrar, Straus and GirouxReleased: 1975Source: borrowed from Open LibraryAmazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis:Doomed to—or blessed with—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why…

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Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood

Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood was last week's Free Fridays Nook selection from Barnes & Noble. It's geared for ages 8 and up, but I'd heard it's a fun read for all ages. I love magical realism - Haruki Murakami and Aimee Bender are two of my favorite authors - so I thought I'd give it a try.Title: Bliss (The Bliss Bakery #1)Author: Kathryn LittlewoodPublisher: Katherine Tegen BooksReleased: February 14, 2012Source: Barnes & Noble (Nook Free Fridays)Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodreadsSynopsis:Rosemary Bliss's family has a secret. It’s the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Stone Sleep Snickerdoodles and Singing Gingersnaps. Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke under lock and whisk-shaped key…

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