Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Published by: Abrams Books
Release date: March 2014
From the publisher: I did a mean thing.
A very mean thing.
I HATE that I did it.
But I did.
This is worse than
carrot juice on a cupcake
or a wasp on my pillow
or a dress that’s too tight at the neck.
In the third installment from the team who created Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie and Like Bug Juice on a Burger, Eleanor’s relationship with her best friend, Pearl, experiences its first growing pains. When a glamorous new student transfers to school, at first Eleanor’s excited about the possibility of a new friend. But when Pearl is assigned to be the new girl’s buddy, Eleanor fears she can’t compete. To make matters worse, Eleanor’s been chosen for the lead role in the springtime musical, which means she has to sing a solo in front of the entire school!
From overcoming stage fright to having a secret crush, young readers will relate to Eleanor as she navigates the bittersweet waters of growing up.
As adults, we sometimes look back on our childhoods as carefree. And for many, in many ways, they were. But when you’re in the midst of that childhood, it can be tough. There’s changing friendships, and new experiences, and fears to be conquered. With the gift of time, those pain of those challenges fade and we forget.
Fortunately for today’s kids, Julie Sternberg hasn’t.
In Like Carrot Juice for a Cupcake, Sternberg gives voice to the everyday fears of today’s elementary-age youth.
Why does my best friends suddenly have a new best friend?
What does it mean that the boy sitting behind me pictures and kicks my chair every day?
Will my parents give my dog away if he doesn’t stop destroying the house?
This is childhood. And rather than waving away these big heartaches of youth, Sternberg confronts them head on in a way every child can relate to. Couple that with Cordell’s sketch-style illustrations and you have a winning chapter book series.
Haven’t met Eleanor yet?
Here’s your chance. I have ALL THREE BOOKS to give away to one lucky recepient!
That’s Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (2011), Like Bug Juice on a Burger (2013), AND Like Carrot Juice On a Cupcake (2014), all in one fantastic giveaway package!
U.S. Residents only, please.
Giveaway closes at 11:59pm on Monday, April 21st, 2014.
Winner will have 48 hours to respond by email before a new winner is selected.
The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky
Published by: Dial
Release date: February 2014
From the publisher:
“Beasts of the Southern Wild” meets Because of Winn Dixie in this inspiring story of hope.
Auggie Jones lives with her grandpa Gus, a trash hauler, in a poor part of town. So when her wealthy classmate’s father starts the House Beautification Committee, it’s homes like Auggie’s that are deemed “in violation.” But Auggie is determined to prove that there’s more to her—and to her house—than meets the eye.
What starts out as a home renovation project quickly becomes much more as Auggie and her grandpa discover a talent they never knew they had—and redefine a whole town’s perception of beauty, one recycled sculpture at a time.
Holly Schindler’s feel-good story about the power one voice can have will inspire readers to speak from their hearts.
From the very first page, I was rooting for Auggie. She’s what I think most would consider the underdog. Living with her grandfather in the less affluent part of the neighborhood. Forced to move schools after her old school is closed down. Writing to a mother in California who never seems to find the time to write back. Auggie is the type of girl you want to hug and fix things for.
But Auggie doesn’t need somebody to fix things for her. She’s got grit and determination and an unusual eye for beauty. She’s not one to be kept down.
And neither is her Grandpa Gus, which is why I invited him on the blog today to share a little bit more about what has happened at The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky.
Hi, Gus! Thanks for stopping by today! I know you’re a busy man, so I’ll get right to it. Tell me a little bit about what you do?
Well, I’m a trash hauler. Doesn’t sound like such a fancy job, and it isn’t. Really, I’m retired. Get “security checks,” as Auggie and I are always calling them. Trash hauling’s something I do on the side. Got my old truck—Old Glory, we call her—painted up on the doors, with “Gus’s Salvage.” Even got a winch on the back, so I can pull old cars out of muddy spots and rivers where they got abandoned.
And you’re raising your granddaughter, Auggie, right? Tell us a little bit about her.
Little Sister, I call my Auggie. Since it feels like I’m raising daughter number two—a little sister to the first one. Right about the time she got sent to a new school, she realized she and I don’t really just live in an old house—it’s, well, it’s poor, too. Got it in her head that she wanted to spruce the place up. But like I told her, “Poor folks have poor ways.” We couldn’t afford a bunch of fancy new stuff for the house. Had to use what we could—which turned out to be the stuff I picked up as a trash hauler.
You and Auggie live in Serendipity Place and there’s been a lot of chatter surrounding your neighborhood lately. What’s going on?
A fancy new committee recently formed—The House Beautification Committee. Decided to clean up old neighborhoods like ours. And when Auggie and I started working on our house, boy, did they get mad! Started sending us warning notices and fines…but what could we do? We’d put in stained-glass windows and glass-filled Quikrete on our walk! Wasn’t like we could just take it off anytime we wanted.
But the committee didn’t like the rest of Serendipity Place’s updates, either. We’re all getting fined.
So you and Auggie have been hard at work. Can you share a little bit of your project?
Sure—like I said, we’ve been using the stuff I pick up as a trash hauler. But we’re also using an old welding torch I had from back when I was a full-time welder. We’ve taken junked cars and old water heaters and toasters and a hundred other discarded items and turned them into metal flowers and sculptures of people who dance and jump rope and play Duck, Duck, Goose, and anything else that Auggie can think up.
I’ll let you get back to work, Gus. But just one more question. If there’s a message you want everyone who hears about you, Auggie, and Serendipity Place to hear, what is it?
Sometimes, “pretty” and “new” aren’t the same thing. Seems to me, something that’s old can be every bit as pretty as something that’s still got its new shine on it. Funny, isn’t it? Auggie found her own “shine,” her great special talent, by finding what’s pretty in rusted, old, discarded stuff.
Thank you Gus (and Holly!) for visiting today.
Words of Praise for The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky:
“…a heartwarming and uplifting story…[that] shines…with vibrant themes of community, self-empowerment and artistic vision delivered with a satisfying verve.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Axioms like ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ and ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ come gracefully to life in Schindler’s tale about the value of hard work and the power of community…Auggie’s enthusiasm and unbridled creativity are infectious, and likeminded readers will envy her creative partnership with [her grandfather] Gus.” – Publishers Weekly
“Determined to save her home, Auggie [uses] pottery shards, vivid glass, and metal sculptures [to] transform the house’s exterior into a vibrant expression of the love within its walls. In Auggie, Schindler creates a spunky, sympathetic character young readers will engage with and enjoy.” – The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Book Studies
“The protagonist perches in the reader’s heart as she goes about trying to “‘discover her shine.’” – NY Journal of Books
More from Holly:
Site for young readers: Holly Schindler’s Middles – hollyschindlermiddles.weebly.com. I’m especially excited about this site. I adored getting to interact with the YA readership online—usually through Twitter or FB. But I had to create a site where I could interact with the MG readership. I’m devoting a page on the site to reviews from young readers themselves! Be sure to send your young reader’s review through the Contact Me page.
Group Author Blogs: YA Outside the Lines (yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com) for YA authors and Smack Dab in the Middle (smack-dab-in-the-middle.blogspot.com) for MG authors.
THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY Trailer:
Link to purchase on Amazon:
My next YA, FERAL, releases with HarperTeen on August 26, 2014:
It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.
But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.
But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….
Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.
The Visit by Mark Kimball Moulton (as recalled by Dinghy Sharp), illustrated by Susan Winget
Published by: Schiffer Publishing
Release date: October 2013 (first published October 2001)
From the publisher: In 1822, Clement Clarke Moore created the classic Christmas poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” for his daughter. Here, in verse and accompanied by over 50 richly detailed illustrations, is the story of the writing of this classic. It is based on the history of the poem as passed down through the generations of the Moore family and told to the author by Dinghy Sharp, the great-great-granddaughter of Clement Moore.
“The Night Before Christmas” is one of those time-honored classics that most children hear for the first time as a lap read, and most adults can recite from memory by the time they have children of their own. It is widely accepted that Clement C. Moore penned the famous poem, but how many know more about its origins?
The Visit is the result of an interview between the author and Moore’s great great grandaughter, Dinghy Sharp. The story of how “The Night Before Christmas” came to be was as much a part of Ms. Sharp’s childhood as the poem itself. It tells of a sick child, a winter storm, the compassionate (and unrecognized) kindness of a stranger, and the dedication of a man to his wife and child. The icing on the cake is an appendix containing a copy of the famous poem, written in Moore’s own handwriting a year before his death, and approximately 40 years after he first penned the words (I love stuff like this).
While “The Night Before Christmas” is a poem meant for young children, The Visit is geared towards older readers. The length, the vocabulary, and the minute details all are meant not to introduce the poem, but to provide background to those already familiar. The book itself is written in verse, and divided into three sections. The first is narrated by Ms. Sharp as a child, telling of her first experience hearing this family history on her grandfather’s knee. The second is narrated by her grandfather, and provides specific explanation for some of the poems famous lines. What is a sugarplum? What are coursers? Why were stockings hung at the fireplace and not in the bedrooms? The final section, also narrated by the grandfather specifically recounts the events that inspired the poem, beginning with Mother fussing at Papa Moore as he relaxes with a book while she’s frantically trying to finish Christmas preparations.
Every single page has a new surprise, a new piece of information I never would have guessed, and even doses of humor. Is it all true? Who knows. Stories that get passed down through the generations tend to change slightly . But in the end, that doesn’t really matter. What we have is a “true as possible” account of a poem I’ve known since my childhood, accompanied by gorgeous, full-spread, illustrations. While my own children are still too young to appreciate this book (or even sit through it), I’m saving it for future years. What a delight to have this little bit of shared Moore family history.
The Christmas Cat by Maryann Macdonald, illustrated by Amy June Bates
Published by: Penguin
Release date: October 2013
From the publisher: A cozy Nativity story for those who love Christmas and cats.
All babies are beautiful and all babies cry. Jesus was no exception. On the night he was born, nothing Mary, Joseph, or the animals in the stable could do would comfort him. But when a curious kitten wanted its turn to calm the baby Jesus, a loving friendship blossomed on that very first Christmas.
This perfect read-aloud was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of La Madonna del Gatto, which show Mary lovingly holding the baby Jesus who is cuddling a cat.
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to review a copy of Maryann Macdonald’s lyrical historical fiction, Odette’s Secrets. So when she told me she had a new Christmas story coming out and asked if I would be interested in reading it, I was eager. After receiving the book I read it and then excitedly wrapped it and put it in our Bookish Advent Calendar (if you’re not sure what I’m talking about, the basic idea can be found here). I knew my daughter would love this one, and I couldn’t wait to share it with her.
I was right.
We read it for the first time last week and have read it several times since then, in addition to having additional “remember that part in the story?” conversations.
This is the Nativity story, a story my own child was familiar with. But then it goes beyond to follow Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in their flight into Egypt to escape Herrod. What made this unique for me was Macdonald’s focus on this Holy Family as a “normal” family. The baby Jesus is crying. The barn animal noises aren’t helping. Mary is becoming frustrated. It isn’t until a tiny kitten cuddles up against the baby that the vibrations from its purrs calm the child. Later, the family has to pack and leave unexpectedly and the kitten is nowhere to be found. Once again, Mary tries everything to soothe her fussing child, even expressing her wish that the cat were around to make things better. Once again, the (crying) crisis is averted when the stowaway cat appears and the two friends–boy and cat– are reunited.
We’ve read (and enjoyed) many versions of the Nativity story. The humanistic component in this one, however, made it something special. An author’s note in the back tells the reader that the story was inspired by a DaVinci painting depicting Mary, the Child, and a cat. I love that Macdonald has taken this image and spun a story around it. A child and his beloved pet. It’s a universal theme.
So there’s the story. But once you’ve read the text, take the time to go back and fully enjoy the illustrations. They’re full page watercolors, full of warmth, that beautifully complement the theme of this book.
I have a feeling this will be an annual favorite in our Christmas collection.
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 2013
From the publisher:
Are you bored with being so proper?
Daughter’s take-away from @itspeterbrown MR. TIGER GOES WILD: “They’re happy cuz they’re nakey!” Preschoolers cut right to the chase 😉
— Maria Burel (@NoVaLibraryMom) November 7, 2013
@NoVaLibraryMom The animals are both literally and metaphorically nakey. She is correct!
— peterbrown! (@itspeterbrown) November 7, 2013
But that message is embedded in a story about a community of animals who are so uptight as to seem almost Puritan (the illustrations add greatly here). Mr. Tiger tries to fit in, he does. He dresses the right way, says the right things, behaves with the right manners. But something inside of him is just “roaring” to get out. When it does, the town’s reaction is not positive. But over time, Mr. Tiger and his neighbors are able to reach a peace, one we hope all children, even the most “wild” of children, are able to find. There is, after all, a time to be proper and a time to be wild. As a parent, I feel as if I’m relaying this message 1000x a day. Apparently, it’s a message Peter Brown has heard, too.
Go read the story (psssttt! If you don’t own it, I’m giving a copy away below!)
Because right now, on his website, Peter Brown is offering a free printable activity kit.
There’s a second bonus kit of holiday activities.
SO MANY GOODIES, Y’ALL!
Oh, and did you catch that bit about my having a copy to give away?
Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur
Published by: Random House
Release date: August 2013
From the publisher:
“I’m obsessed with abandoned things.” Siena’s obsession began a year and a half ago, around the time her two-year-old brother Lucca stopped talking. Now Mom and Dad are moving the family from Brooklyn to Maine hoping that it will mean a whole new start for Lucca and Siena. She soon realizes that their wonderful old house on the beach holds secrets. When Siena writes in her diary with an old pen she found in her closet, the pen writes its own story, of Sarah and Joshua, a brother and sister who lived in the same house during World War II. As the two stories unfold, amazing parallels begin to appear, and Siena senses that Sarah and Joshua’s story might contain the key to unlocking Lucca’s voice.
Being an almost-teen is hard. Being an almost-teen who can see scenes from the past, and who has vivid dreams that are more like memories, that’s even harder.
The Boy on the P0rch by Sharon Creech
Published by: HarperCollins
Release date: September 2013
From the publisher:
One day a young couple wakes to find a boy asleep on their porch. Unable to speak, the boy cannot explain his history. What kind of people would leave their child with strangers? All John and Marta know is that they have been chosen to care for this boy. As their connection to him grows, they embrace his exuberant spirit and talents. The three of them blossom into an unlikely family, but how long can their happiness last?
Such a powerful last sentence to @ciaobellacreech THE BOY ON THE PORCH. 4 words, and you want to simultaneously laugh and cry.
— Maria Burel (@NoVaLibraryMom) November 6, 2013
And within several minutes had responding cries of agreement. There are many, many good books. But The Boy on the Porch goes beyond “good” to “necessary.” This is a book that needed to be written. There are people, amazing people, who need to hear the message it has to share.
While that’s deliberately vague, it is intentional. A book with a powerful ending deserves to be experienced without spoilers. I don’t want to diminish that power.
Find it. Read it. And then pass the story on to someone else.
Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin
Published by: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: October 2012
From the publisher:
I know there are some reading this saying, “Oh yeah! I read this when it came out last year!” It did come out last year. And it got some great reviews and lots of attention, and I thought, “Oh, I’d like to read that.” So I added it to my evergrowing list of “I’d like to read that!” books . And then time went on and the list continued growing, and I continued reading, and, well…this book slipped through the cracks. Then last week, I was shelf-browsing at the library, and the spine caught my eye, and I remembered, “Oh! I’d like to read that.”
What attracted me to this book is that, at its heart, it is a collection of folk stories. Specifically, Chinese folk stories. When I was teaching, we spent alot of time sharing folk stories. Not just as an isolated unit, but throughout the year. I wanted my low-income, untraveled, students to be exposed to other cultures, but in a manner that’s comfortable and relaxed and entertaining. Not textbook dry.
Back to the library. I picked up Starry River and was excited to start reading. A few chapters in…I wasn’t hooked. A few more…a bit better, but still wasn’t enthralled. I kept reading because, to be honest, I was a little frustrated with me. What wasn’t I getting that everybody else got?
And then the main character, Rendi, began sharing stories. And that’s when it happened. Something in his voice grabbed me. He was so obviously an unhappy child, and when the reasons why began to become apparent, I felt a stronger emotional response to his plight. I wanted to remove his hurt and I silently cheered the gentle Madame Chang who oh-so-quietly-but-effectively acted as a balm. The theme of kindness and compassion is one that all children need to hear, repeatedly, especially when so much of what they see and hear in the day-to-day is the opposite.
Lin’s weaving of the main plot and the traditional folktales is seamless. In fact, by the end of the novel, the two are so tightly woven that they are, in actuality, one. And you can’t quite remember when the two paths merged.
I very rarely give up on a story because sometimes it pays off to get beyond the opening chapters, beyond the pages where you don’t quite “connect” the the pages where you do. Starry River of the Sky is an example of one such case. I’ve now added its companion, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (2010 Newbery Honor) to my want-to-read list, too. Better late than never, right?
Loula is Leaving for Africa by Anne Villeneuve
Published by: Kids Can Press
Release date: September 2013
From the publisher: Loula has had enough of her terrible triplet brothers and decides to run away to Africa. Luckily, her mother’s chauffeur, Gilbert, knows just how to get there. Together, Loula and Gilbert ride camels, cross a desert and, most important, use heaps of imagination in this heartwarming adventure.
Published by: Candlewick
Release date: September 2013
From the publisher: One Saturday, when Mitchell almost knocks down his dad, his dad catches him and puts him in the car. And when they step into the bowling alley, Mitchell feels right at home. Pizza! Giant crashing noises! Special shoes! But as Mitchell picks up the biggest ball and quickly learns the word gutter, and when Dad does a little kick with his leg and earns a big X on the scoreboard, Mitchell starts to get peevish. How can Mitchell get a chance to do a steamin’-hot-potato-dance too? With wit, warmth, and comedic charm, Hallie Durand and Tony Fucile roll another strike with this tale of a lovably rambunctious child and his doting dad.
Sometimes, you might do all of the above, and still be losing. And that’s frustrating. So frustrating that you might want to go home. But it’s here that Mitchell learns something else.
Sometimes, (asking for) a little help goes a long way.
After reading Mitchell Goes Bowling, I was so bowled over (HA!) by Mitchell’s spirit, that I wanted you to meet him for yourselves. So I asked him for a little interview, in which he answered a few questions in true Mitchell fashion:
Hi Mitchell! My 4yo daughter has never been bowling, but I bet she’d love it! What was the best part for you?
Knocking stuff down. And we winned.
Sometimes my daughter gets frustrated when things don’t quite go her way. Has that ever happened to you?
Ummm. Not that I “can” remember.
I think your dad sounds like a pretty special guy. Besides bowling, what else does he teach you?
To bring my mom her coffee. And I can’t invite myself to somebody’s house. They have to invite me.
I hear you also have a license! I’m impressed! Tell us about your “car”. 😉
My car runned out of gas and put me in bed.
Any other adventures you’d like to have with your dad?
Wrestling for real, not for joking. Catching crickets for my leopard geckos. And doing a cannon ball. And I want to go to Austria and see a koala.
And in case you’re not already sold, how about an exclusive peek at some book art?
How can you not fall in love with this guy? We feel as if we’ve made a new friend at our house.
Want more of Mitchell? Follow him on his blog tour!
|Sat, Oct 5||Booking Mama||http://www.bookingmama.net/|
|Mon, Oct 7||The Children’s Book Review||http://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/|
|Tues, Oct 8||Susan Heim on Parenting||http://susanheim.blogspot.com/|
|Wed, Oct 9||Sharpread||http://sharpread.wordpress.com/|
|Thurs, Oct 10||There’s a Book||http://www.theresabook.com/|
|Fri, Oct 11||Just a Little Creativity||http://www.justalittlecreativity.com/|
|Mon, Oct 14||Once Upon a Story||HERE|
|Tues, Oct 15||Geo Librarian||http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/|
|Wed, Oct 16||5 Minutes for Books||http://www.5minutesformom.com/category/feature-columns/5-minutes-for-books/|
|Thurs, Oct 17||Kid Lit Frenzy||http://www.kidlitfrenzy.com/|
|Fri, Oct 18||As They Grow Up||http://www.astheygrowup.com/|
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