SPOOKED!

SPOOKED! blog tour graphic.jpgI’m batting last in the blog tour line-up, and couldn’t be more pleased to have the final words on SPOOKED! and its arrival for all to enjoy.

Just what is real and what is made up? Our youth are growing up with reminders of don’t believe everything you read on the Internet! In fact hoaxes and the so-called Fake News attribute is nothing new. One of the biggest occurred almost 80 years ago on the night of October 30, 1938.

This exhaustively researched book brings full understanding to the panic spread during and after a radio dramatization of Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds. Who would ever believe the United States was under alien attack? Many did that night and chaos ensued.

Before or after reading Gail Jarrow’s enthralling account of the planning, inception, and after effects of the dramatic presentation, sneak  over and listen to the original hour long broadcast. Back then there was no Internet or television, no cell phones by your side 24 hours a day. What you did have was maybe a home telephone and a radio for entertainment and communication.SPOOKED! cover.jpg

The book is intended for ages 10-14, but older teens and adults would also benefit. Critical thinking comes front and center with a natural comparison to the events of that night and our world today. Throughout are pictures (Including classics of Orson Welles and his then partner, John Houseman) and illustrations from H.G. Wells original work. Each personality is fully explored and an understanding of their intentions are brought forth through the text.

A timeline and one of the most detailed set of Source Notes and Bibliography support this as a definitive account of the fictional invasion of America. History truly comes to life in the 144 pages and books like this help keep our past relevant for current and future generations.

Here’s the official background from Boyd’s Mills Press/ Calkins Creek:

Acclaimed author Gail Jarrow explores in riveting detail the famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast from 1938, in this nonfiction title. Jarrow highlights the artists behind the broadcast, the broadcast itself, the aftermath, and the repercussions which remain relevant today. On the night of October 30, 1938, thousands of Americans panicked when they believed that Martians had invaded Earth. What appeared to be breaking news about an alien invasion was, in fact, a radio drama based on H. G. Wells’s War of the Worlds, performed by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre players. Some listeners became angry once they realized they had been tricked, and the reaction to the broadcast sparked a national discussion about fake news, propaganda, and the role of radio. Archival photographs and images, as well as an author’s note, timeline, bibliography, and index round out this stellar nonfiction title.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail JarrowGail Jarrow is the author of many popular nonfiction books, including Red Madness, Fatal Fever, and Bubonic Panic. Her books have received numerous starred reviews, awards, and distinctions, including Best Book awards from the New York Public Library, School Library Journal, the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s BooksKirkus Reviews, and the National Science Teachers Association.

 

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Coming up next week is another MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required). Email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
 (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring).
Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and for spreading the middle grade love!
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

MIDDLE GRADE in the NEWS 9/20/18

Here are a few news and special feature articles I’ve enjoyed this week:

  1. Tim Federle speaks about NATE EXPECTATIONS and the closing of his Broadway themed series.
  2. Middle Grade Murders? The writer of this blog piece is disturbed by the trend in MG books. See if you agree with what she says.
  3. Publisher’s Weekly focuses on Middle Grade Books with two interesting articles:
    1. Booksellers Navigate New Trends in Middle Grade.
    2. Booksellers Share Tips for Selling and Publishing Middle Grade.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back Friday with the the last stop on the Blot Tour for SPOOKED!

Posted in Middle Grade News | Tagged | 2 Comments

MMGM for 9/17/18

Leading the MMGM parade is Kara Armstrong at Scribbles of an Aspiring Author.  Remember Kara’s name as I’m sure we will see her as a published author in the future. Today she reviews an upper middle grade book, called P.S. I Still Love You, by Jenny Han. You can read all about it with a click on the MMGM logo.

Here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a feature on National Geographic KIDS fantastic new ABSOLUTE EXPERT series.  Click the blue ball to reach my review and be sure to check out all the other sites below. Also, if you missed my Friday feature on D-Day you can view it here.
June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic has a ‘MMGM STEAM Double-Feature’ from the ‘Super Skills’ series by Stephanie Turnbull. The titles are ‘Craft Skills‘ and ‘Art Skills‘.
Joanne Fritz at My Brain on Books is reviewing SQUIRM by Newbery Honor-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author Carl Hiaasen.
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles has an interview with Amanda Rawson Hill and GIVEAWAY of her MG contemporary THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC.
Completely Full Bookshelf recommends Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol. It has a fun looking cover. Read about what’s inside from CFB!
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal reviews  Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground by T.R. Simon, a fictionalized account of Zora Neale Hurston childhood adventures and the effects of slavery and the Jim Crowe south.
Rosi Hollinbeck has a review of WELCOME TO WONDERLAND #3: SANDAPALOOZA SHAKEUP by Chris Grabenstein. Rosi also includes some helpful links for writers.
Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has an informative MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her other reviews the past week.
After a much too long absence welcome back to author Susan Olson at Time Travel Times Two. Today she has a review of HURRICANE KATRINA RESCUE (Ranger in Time #8).
Also returning this week is Sue Kooky at Kitty Cat at the Library. She reviews the book An Unexpected Adventure.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, MMGM Links | Tagged , | 1 Comment

ABSOLUTE EXPERT SERIES

It’s another MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!

IMG_2232This new effort by National Geographic Kids hits all the right spots in providing detailed information on topics middle grade kids crave. Along with awe inspiring photos and drawings, each edition features support from a leading in-the-field expert with personal stories, experiences, and knowledge.

Four separate books start us off: DINOSAURS, DOLPHINS, SOCCER, and VOLCANOES. Future topics include DOGS, CATS, ROCKS, and OUTER SPACE. Here are five things I love about ABSOLUTE EXPERT:

  1. They are hardback but the perfect size (7.5 by 9.5 inches) and page count (114 pages), making them easy to pull out and read in the car or anywhere else where space is at a premium.
  2. The information presented is detailed and full of reading challenges . There are of course fun pieces, but the focus is on understanding each topic to its fullest extent.
  3. The books have four chapters, each ending with an interactive feature to get you involved even deeper. You might be making something or taking a visual quiz.
  4. The layout is spectacular and fits in with the visual learning style of so many young readers. This begins with the Contents page and continues right through to the end.
  5. They couldn’t have done a better job choosing the experts. These people are in the middle of the action and you might find yourself wanting to follow in their footsteps.

Hold on tight… Below is a little background on each of the first four volumes. I’ve included my own thoughts and a favorite fact in the field (from literally hundreds to choose from in each book).

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Chalked full of information, DINOSAURS will have you learning about these creatures from a different era with surprise and envy. I never knew there were so many dinosaurs, including ones just discovered. Very much appreciated was the pronunciation guide in the back pages. I needed a little help on KUEHNEOSAURUS (KWAIN-ee-o-SORE-us).

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Absolute Expert: Dinosaurs by Lela Nargi and featuring in-the-field expert Dr. Steve Brusatte, a National Geographic Explorer and Paleontologist – Dr. Brusatte has named more than 15 new species, traveled the world searching for dinos and is particularly interested in the origin and evolution of dinosaurs.  Throughout this book Steve shares his stories, adventures, discoveries and insights about his life as a paleontologist and the amazing dinosaurs that he studies.  Every page contains rich details and drills down into all aspects of dinosaurs —  different species, how they evolved, their behaviors, fossil science and so much more.

MY FAVORITE IN THE FIELD FACT: The sounds dinosaurs made is called closed-mouthed vocalization. They probably sounded like ostriches and cassowaries.

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One look through DOLPHINS will bring a smile to your face. They have that instant effect. The text takes you under the surface and gives you a realistic portrayal of these beautiful creatures. Conservation is the backbone because we never want dolphins to disappear off our earth. Start in any chapter and learn new things on every page.

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Absolute Expert: Dolphins by Jennifer Swanson and featuring in-the-field expert Justine Jackson-Ricketts, a National Geographic Explorer and marine biologist  — Comprehensive coverage of all things dolphin, including all the different species, a nose-to-tail look at these amazing mammals, their habitat and behavior, how to study them, career opportunities in the field, and the importance of conservation efforts.  Justine, who studies rare Irrawaddy dolphins in the Gulf of Thailand, acts your guide as she shares with the reader the work she is doing to save this species of dolphins whose numbers are dwindling.

MY FAVORITE IN THE FIELD FACT: While humans use goggles or masks to see underwater, dolphin’s eyes are special. They secrete a special oil to make them see better and it keeps the water out.

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SOCCER is where you’ll learn the rules and a description of the player positions, but what makes this special is the historical angle. Find out how soccer was named and the success at making it a worldwide sport. World Cup, MLS, Olympic, and women’s soccer are all given their space and each is full of history.

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Absolute Expert: Soccer by Eric Zweig and featuring in-the-field expert Mark Geiger, a Major League Soccer and Olympic referee (and one of only two U.S. referees officiating at this year’s World Cup) — Covering sports history, the latest gear, facts about little-known regulations, high profile athletes and so much more, this title has it all.  Professional ref Mark Geiger shares his personal stories of what it’s like working the Olympic games and the World Cup, how to train to be a professional referee and the importance of good sportsmanship.  Throughout this year’s World Cup, Mark has had to pull the yellow and red card quite a bit — and his explanation of how and when he uses them is fantastic.  Fresh off the World Cup and heading into soccer season, this title is extremely timely.

MY FAVORITE IN THE FIELD FACT: Bert Patenaude was an American soccer star and in 1930 he scored three goals in a World Cup match against Paraguay. He was the first player to score this special hat trick. Unfortunately, a discrepancy kept the record out of the books until almost 76 years later. Bert has already passed away and never knew he finally received the official credit.

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A global journey is in store for you as Volcanoes from around the world are featured. See the different types of volcanoes and eruptions and how they occur. I found the feature on Mount St. Helens fascinating as it tells and shows how nature recovered in the thirty plus years since the eruption.

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Absolute Expert: Volcanoes by Lela Nargi and featuring in-the-field expert Arianna Soldati, a National Geographic Explorer and Volcanologist — The ongoing eruption of Kilauea has brought volcanoes —  the science behind them, their combustible beauty and the massive damage they cause — back into the headlines.  This timely title contains the latest information on all types of volcanoes around the world, which ones are in danger of erupting and what it takes to get up close to study the science behind the eruptions. Arianna has done field work all over the globe and acts as the reader’s guide to these combustible natural wonders.

MY FAVORITE IN THE FIELD FACT: A caldera is formed when the outside structure of a volcano collapses, leaving a giant bowl shape in the ground. Yellowstone has one of the biggest and scientists think some day it may erupt again. If it does they expect climate will be affected around the world for many years.

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I received these books from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Make a comment below. I enjoy reading all of them.

Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

D-DAY—The World War II Invasion That Changed History

SCHOLASTIC FOCUS is a new imprint focusing on narrative non-fiction for tweens and teens. The debut list is an impressive group of titles set to hit the shelves in the coming months. More will be forthcoming in the Spring of 2019. DDAY.jpgFirst up is a fascinating account of D-DAY by Deborah Hopkinson.

Told through quotes from servicemen, historians, and correspondents, the stories are not glossed over for a younger audience. Meticulously researched details make this a must for any historian, no matter what age. Each part of the invasion is presented beginning with the challenges of planning such an attack. This is followed by the inception and aftermath.

The personal stories are what make this effort go beyond the usual dry historical recounting of facts. They each provide meaning and purpose to a war unlike any others and help make readers connect this time with the present.

The last part of the book is called The Quartermasters Department and includes a WWW II timeline, glossary of places and names, and an invaluable bibliography. The result is a stellar source for the classroom or home. Here’s the official background from Scholastic:

The WWII invasion of Allied troops into German-occupied Europe, known as D-Day, was the largest military endeavor in history. Acclaimed author Deborah Hopkinson details not just the accomplishments of the offensive’s major players, but the courageous contributions of commanders, service members, African-Americans, women, journalists, and others to this critical battle. Her remarkable research and masterful weaving together of official documents, personal accounts, and archival photographs into a clear and compelling tapestry brings this key battle to vivid, thrilling life.

The other two titles for 2018 are intended for a YA audience but you might want to take a look at for the 12 and up reader:

UNPUNISHED MURDER—Massacre At Colfax And The Quest For Justice  by Lawrence GoldstoneMurder

On Easter Sunday of 1873, just eight years after the Civil War ended, a band of white supremacists marched into Grant Parish, Louisiana, surrounded the courthouse, set it on fire, and massacred over one hundred African Americans. Yet, following one of the most ghastly and barbaric incidents of mass murder in American history, not a single person was convicted. In this remarkably compelling and thoroughly researched volume for young readers, Lawrence Goldstone traces the history of the court case and the actions of the figures involved, and presents the extraordinary story of how the Supreme Court allowed post-slavery discrimination against black Americans to become institutionalized and entrenched in the American justice system.

THE GRAND ESCAPE—The Greatest Prison Breakout Of The 20th Century by Neal Bascomb

EscapeAt the height of World War I, as battles raged in the trenches and in the air, another struggle for survival was being waged in the most notorious POW camp in all of Germany: Holzminden. A land-locked Alcatraz of sorts, it was home to the most troublesome Allied prisoners—and the most talented at escape. The Grand Escape tells the remarkable tale of a band of pilots who pulled off an ingenious plan and made it out of enemy territory in the biggest breakout of WWI, inspiring their countrymen in the darkest hours of the war.

 

Coming up next week is another…
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
 (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in Middle Grade Book Reviews, non fiction | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

MIDDLE GRADE in the NEWS 9/13/18

Here are a few news and special feature articles I’ve enjoyed recently:

  1. Celebrated author Lois Lowry is 81 and going strong. She reflects on her career and how she Still Thinks Kids Need To Read About Terrible Things.
  2. There are a lot of sequels releasing this Fall. See if your favorite is on this list.
  3. 1READ is an event in Blount County, Tennessee where one book is read by both adults and kids. This time around it was REFUGEE by Alan Gratz. The slide show pictures at the top of he article show just how powerful books are for young readers. It made me smile.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back Friday with a review of a fascinating new book on D-DAY.

Posted in Middle Grade News | Tagged | 1 Comment

MMGM for 9/10/18

Leading the MMGM parade is Michelle Mason at Musings of a Young Adult Writer. You’ll find reviews of both MG and YA books along with frequent posts about her writing journey. Today she has an interview with Krista Van Dolzer about her new book, EARTH TO DAD, and she’s offered to give away a signed hardcover. Read all about it with one click on the MMGM logo.

The rest of us today are linked with links! Here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE I have a review of THE LEGEND OF GREG by Chris Rylander. The best title ever! Click the gold links to reach my review.
June McCrary Jacobs at ‘Reading, Writing, & Stitch-Metic has a review of ‘The House in the Mail‘—a historical fiction novel by Rosemary Wells and her late husband, Tom Wells. It is set in 1927 Kentucky.
Suzanne Warr at Tales from the Raven returns this week to spotlight The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo.
Patricia Tilton at Children’s Books Heal is reviewing One Good Thing About America by Ruth Freeman, a novel about a girl immigrating from the Congo to America and trying to fit in.
The Mafiosi are back in the MMGM house. Michael Gettel-Gilmartin at Middle Grade Mafioso (and often assisted by his MG son) features Ralph Hardy’s Argos: The Story of Odysseus As Told by his Loyal Dog.
Rosi Hollinbeck returns with a double feature. First off is a review of Just Under the Clouds. She follows up with a Review & Giveaway of Bobs and Tweets Trick or Tweet. More links for writers, too!
Andrea Mack at That’s Another Story adds to our impressive line-up this week with a recommendation for See You On a Starry Night by Lisa Shroeder.
Karen Yingling at Ms. Yingling Reads always has an informative MMGM post. Be sure to check out today’s feature and all of her other reviews the past week.
If you would like to join in the MMGM fun and get your own spot in the parade, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love on a Monday (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count–but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you’re featuring and a link to your blog at gpcolo (at) gmail (dot) com
(Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately–and please don’t forget to say what book you’re featuring)
You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening (11 PM Eastern Time) in order to be included in the list of links for the coming Monday.
Thanks for spreading the middle grade love and for being a part of this awesome tradition begun by Shannon Messenger and carried on here at ALWAYS in the MIDDLE! (CLICK HERE FOR PAST MMGM POSTS)
*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.
Posted in MMGM Links | Tagged , | 2 Comments